Archive for 'Court and Wedge Tombs'

Labbacallee Wedge Tomb

Labbacallee Wedge Tomb

Glanworth, Co. Cork
This tomb was built two millennia before the ascendancy of the Celts, whose legends named this monument the “Bed of the Witch [or hag].” Can it be possible that a folk memory from the Late Bronze Age about the woman whose decapitated remains were found here was somehow preserved in oral tradition?

Creevykeel Court Tomb

Creevykeel Court Tomb

Cliffony, Co. Sligo
The site, right off the main Sligo-Bundoran road, allows a convenient stop. But it is difficult for the visitor to escape the traffic noise and imagine what this scene may have been like a hundred years ago, or a thousand, when its powers were evoked to give sanctity to a smithy’s forge.

Knockbrack Chambered Tomb

Knockbrack Chambered Tomb

Cleggan, Co. Galway
Just above the windswept strand at Sellerna Bay, at the western edge of Connemara, the Knockbrack Tomb looks out over the sea. Ten miles off the coast the hills of Inishbofin lie on the horizon.

Lubitavish Court Tomb: “Ossian’s Grave”

Lubitavish Court Tomb: “Ossian’s Grave”

Cushendall, Co. Antrim
This tomb was known as “Cloughbrack” on early maps. It is unclear when it became connected with Ossian and the effort to reclaim Ireland’s ancient folkloric patrimony from the fabrications of an upstart Scotsman.

Rosdoagh Court Tomb

Rosdoagh Court Tomb

Rossport, Co. Mayo
Its postcard location does not mean that this monument is free from modern controversies. In 2005 five local landowners were jailed for their refusal to allow a gas pipeline through their properties near the court tomb.

Keel East and Slievemore Deserted Village

Keel East and Slievemore Deserted Village

Achill Island, Co. Mayo
All ancient monuments carry within their stones a poignant reminder of the lives of long-departed people. However the stones of Keel East sit adjacent to an even starker memento of life gone by: an entire deserted village.

Parknabinnia Wedge Tomb

Parknabinnia Wedge Tomb

Killinaboy, Co. Clare
Paul Keane explains what happened to someone who attempted to remove stones from the tomb. “He went home, and he went into bed, and he never got up ’til he died. And he died several times.”

Cloghanmore Court Tomb

Cloghanmore Court Tomb

Malin More, Co. Donegal
After Cloghanmore was dug out of the bog in the nineteenth century, it was “a ruinous pile,” with its roofing-stones tossed aside by road and building contractors who used it as a stone quarry. Paddy the Miner, however, believed that the tomb held hidden treasure.

Ballymacdermot Court Tomb

Ballymacdermot Court Tomb

Killeavy, Co. Armagh
The earliest oral traditions speak of the Dé Danann. Later poets re-worked these legends into ballads celebrating the conflicts with the Viking. Thus the terms Danann and Dane became confused, with the Danes given the credit for the construction of the ancient monuments.

Altar Wedge Tomb and Mass Rock

Altar Wedge Tomb and Mass Rock

Goleen, Co. Cork
From its construction in the late Stone Age the Altar Wedge Tomb, with its dramatic waterfront location on Toormore Bay, was the site of ritual practices that continued in the 18th century when the tomb was used as a “Mass Rock.”

Burren Forest Giant’s Grave

Burren Forest Giant’s Grave

Burren Forest Park, Co. Cavan
Many of Ireland’s megalithic monuments—portal tombs, court cairns, or wedge tombs such as this one—are known locally as “the giant’s grave.” But this one, on a hilltop in Co. Cavan’s Burren Forest Park, has a giant story to go along with its name.


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