Approached by a motorable
track through Ballintempo Forest, this tomb has been used (like
much of the Irish countryside) as a rubbish-dump in the past
- but now looks pretty in a sylvan glade. Two twin-chambered
galleries about 6 metres long share a common backstone. The
NE court is horseshoe-shaped and set askew to point E.
~ 6.8 km E, in Corraderry
Brock (H 031 437) are the remains of two concentric stone
circles (?) on top of a knoll overlooking Lough Macnean Upper
to the S, making the knoll look like a cairn. The outer circle,
14.5 metres in diameter, is composed of eight uprights from
20 to 90 cms high. The inner circle, 6.5 metres in diameter,
comprises five uprights and one fallen stone, from only 15 to
only 37 cms high.
Glebe: Passage-tomb kerb
H 426 200
Sheets 27 and 27A
SW of Wattle Bridge, like a prehistoric frontier observation-post
(overlooking three counties) on top of a drumlin (glacial hillock),
'The Druids' Temple' is a kerb of some 67 stones, some
35 metres in diameter surrounding a destroyed round cairn. Originally,
the stones (some of them massive and up to 2 metres high) would
have been contiguous as at Tops passage-tomb in county
but most have now fallen. It was described in 1712 as "a
mighty heap of stones, the bases encircled with very large stones
standing on end...has been removed to pave our ways... Under
the cairn were some urns found in stone coffins." From
it there is a
fine view of 19th century Crom Castle.
Boa Island is no longer
an island, and the two famous statues are in Caldragh old graveyard
in the townland of Dreenan, nearly 10 km E by S of Kesh. The
more famous of the statues (marked Carved Stones on the
map), is a double-sided figure of two beings in typical 'Celtic'
squatting mode, carved back-to-back, the E side being male with
a pointed penis beneath the stylised crossed arms (all carved
in high relief), and the W side being female, with a protruding
tongue. There is incised zig-zag decoration between the two
heads, which may represent hair, and both figures have a band
or belt at the base of the torsos.
The other, smaller,
statue came from Lusty More Island close by, and was perversely
known as "The Lusty Man" even though it is genderless.
The fact that only one eye is fully carved suggests that it
may represent the Badhbha or Divine Hag, who latterly became
the Caillech Bhéarra,
and, like the Norse sky-god Odin, was blind in the left eye.
The name Boa is an anglicisation of her name. This statue is
carved in light relief, and the figure seems to be holding something.
The protruding tongue of this figure and the W side of the larger
statue is a symbol of divinity (cf also the Greek Gorgons) also
associated with Odin, and in mediæval times became a symbol
of suffering, damnation - and concupiscence or lust.
are part of a vast iconographic web and provide the archæological
and 'Celtic' fringe with plenty of opportunitiues for selective
interpretation. The date of the statues is probably no earlier
than the 8th century (and maybe rather later). It is remarkable
that they should have survived even in this formerly most remote
part of Ireland, especially since the other famous Fermanagh
figures on White
Island, to the S, are so evidently Christian. They have
not, like many other Irish monuments, been vaguely Christianised
with fanciful saints' names.
At my last visit (July
2013) I noticed that people had left money in the groove between
the back-to-back heads. This is a very recent practice.
~ 14.5 km SE are other
carved stones at Killadeas.
~ 10.4 km N by E is
the court-tomb at Tawlaght, county Donegal.
On top of a low hill,
commanding fine views, this picturesque group of 7 stones (ranging
from 75 cms to over 2 metres high) might be the remains of a
stone circle, or of a court-tomb - or something else.
~ 5 km ENE at Ballyreagh,
less than 800 metres SW of Lough Mulshane, is a double-court
tomb (H 313 506) whose 33-metre cairn encloses 2 twin-chambered
galleries featuring sill-stones and septal slabs. A house was
once built against the N wall of the E gallery.
km NE, scattered over various townlands on Brougher
Mountain, are several standing-stones and groups of megalithic
remains. According to the megalithic survey there is a group
of 5 stones not marked on the map at H 350 517, which may
be the remains of a tomb; and (70 metres SW of a standing
stone, two stone circles and a stone-row marked on the map)
a standing-stone 1.7 metres high with a row of small stones
and remains of stone circles at H 358 529, with more alignments
and stones including the remains of a wedge-tomb just 100
The only stone I have so far seen is in Glen townland
(H 348 513): a handsome slab 1.3 metres high by 1 metre across
which looks like the end-stone of a megalithic chamber.
In the midst of the
modern Big Dog Forest, "Skagh(a)lea Cairn" is a fine,
almost intact long cairn of limestone boulders, some 20 by 17
metres, and two metres high. At the SE end, eleven low, mossy
orthostats remain of a three-quarter court, wineglass-shaped,
together with 4 stones of a frontal façade, and a very
large stone which blocks the entrance. The gallery is, as originally
intended, covered by cairn-material.
Stone circle and stone-row
H 201 707
There are many examples
of stone circles in high bogland in N Fermanagh, South Derry
and Tyrone, but this is one of the most accessible and charming,
despite the surrounding fence and inappropriate gravel (white
quartzite chips would be much more in keeping with ancient tradition!).
Measuring 13 metres in diameter, it originally had 39 upright
stones up to 1.8 metres in height, with a probable gap to the
NW where there is a small carefully-constructed cairn of stones
contained within a kerb almost 4 metres in diameter. Stretching
S from the cairn is a 15-metre-long alignment of 23 small stones.
km S in Montiaghroe, just E of the road (H 193 694) is
a fine three-stone row, whose tallest member is 1.8 metres high.
SE of this (H 194 693)
on a boggy south-facing hillslope, is one of a group of 4 ruined
stone circlesin this townland. The circle comprises 24 limestone
boulders protruding above the bog surface to heights varying
from just 5 centimetres to 75 centimetres. They form the almost
complete circumference of a circle some eleven metres in diameter.
To the NE are two tangential stone alignments. Farther north
(almost due S of the three-stone row) is what looks remarkably
like a cyclopean court-tomb on the edge of a rocky scarp.
There are more stones on the other side of the road at H 191
693, and at H 197 691 are two massive pillars with a small stone
out of line some distance away.
~ 5.6 km ENE, in county
Tyrone, is a court-tomb at Ally (H 258 725), above a
car-park just NE of a water-treatment plant by the main road
in Lough Bradan Forest. A large horizontally-split lintel sits
on top of the entry jambs, whose forecourt and entrance are
obscured by the circular wall of a more modern sheepfold. There
are 2 chambers, and beyond them a lateral chamber with gabled
backstone, corbel stones and displaced roofstone. One stone
of the front chamber has several holes and depressions which
may be more than solution-pits.
~ 10 km
SSE, on the N side of an E-W ridge (H 233 615) which is covered
in blanket bog in Keeran, is the 6.5 metre gallery of
a wedge-tomb with no trace of a cairn. A capstone is still in
place at the E end, while a single surviving upright at the
W end may have formed part of the entrance.
~ 8.8 km W by N, in
county Donegal, is Tawlaght court-tomb (H 113 724) some
400 metres E by S of Lough Nashannagh, with a fine lintel spanning
the low entrance to the two-chambered gallery. This tomb was
intact at the end of the 19th century, but like perhaps scores
of Irish prehistoric tombs it was ransacked by "sporting"
gunmen who removed the roofstones. This of course also happened
in France during the second World War, when the Resistance maquisards
were in hiding and hungry.
~14.4 km SW are the
Boa Island statues.
H 172 292
Sheets 26 and 27A
This atypical wedge-tomb
survives best at the 'back' end, where a roofstone remains in
place above the main gallery, and another one has fallen into
it. The front of the sepulchre faces westwards up the steep
slope straight into Cuilcagh Mountain, while the relatively
high E end commands panoramic views to Upper Lough Erne and
Benaughlin. About 4 metres E (down the slope) some kerbstones
are incorporated in a ruined field-wall. To the south there
are two additional chambers, possibly added later, that equal
the main tomb in size. One of these chambers is filled with
cairn material. Much double-walling exists down both sides.
Separating the unroofed portico from the main chamber is a low
sill stone, whereas the two subsidiary chambers are separated
by a high septal slab.
~ 3 km N, just N of
a track and between two streams in Teesnaghtan (H 193
306) is a small standing-stone, 1.5 metres high. A small cross
has been inscribed near the top of the NE face in a crack in
the sandstone. 50 metres NW is a small round cairn.
~ 10 km E by N in Aghakillymaud
(H 273 310) is a court-tomb with well-preserved cairn amongst
which can be discerned a partially-exposed jamb and a pair of
portal-stones at the NE entrance. This is one of a group of
megalithic remains around Knockninny, on top of which is a fine
Cupmarked slab, Phallic stone and holed stone
H 205 540
In the graveyard of
a Protestant church (in Rockfield townland) on the W side of
the road, a large slab, 1.5 metres high has at least 10 deep
cup-marks on one face, while the other face has been Christianised
with a Greek cross on a bifurcated stem. Cup-marked stones like
this (both natural and enhanced) are a feature of counties Leitrim
Nearby is a small,
broken phallic pillar and a perforated stone half-embedded in
the ground. Near the graveyard wall is 'The Bishop's Stone'
with an ecclesiastic on one side and a human face above interlace
on the front edge. This site - like White
Island and Boa Island farther north, with their carvings
both 'pagan' and Christian in Christian contexts - is interesting
for its very obvious overlap of 'pagan' and Christian. The cup-marked
stone looks very much like a multiple-bullaun,
Christianised and set on edge: compare the site at Killinagh
in county Cavan. Many standing-stones and ogam stones in Ireland
were latterly Christianised, as were some menhirs in France.
Fermanagh and Leitrim were of course, until the last subjugation
by the English, the most inaccessible and culturally conservative
part of Ireland. Both counties even until recently had a kind
of remote or otherworldly feeling to them.
~ 14.5 km NW are the
Boa Island statues.
Beg: Wedge-tomb, Standing-stones, etc.
G 982 542
is for a well-preserved wedge-tomb in a group of megaliths lying
to the W of a track running SE from a by-road close to a wind-farm.
The first monument is immediately to the right of the track:
two stones, 2.8 metres apart looking like two halves of a split
limestone boulder, which are probably the remains (façade
cornerstones ?) of a large tomb which would also have been aligned
NW like the other tombs nearby. On the NW face of one are natural
vertical grooves. A tree has grown between the stones, which
overlook the wedge-tomb, 200 metres ESE.
It has an almost
complete rectangular gallery, 5 metres long and divided into
two by a septal slab, facing NW along the little valley (more
a depression) below. The gallery, the backstone and the walls
are buried quite deeply into the remain of the cairn. Parts
of the double walling can also be seen. Inside the chamber is
a fallen roof-stone one of whose corners rests on a side-stone.
The NW end is blocked by a septal stone & flanked by a pair
of portals, which, with a pair of lateral slabs, form an antechamber
- off which is a small rectangular chamber on either side.
the picture for more
~ 26 metres S are the remains of another megalithic structure
which has been described as the vestiges of a stone circle or
~ Nearby to the NW is another wedge-tomb in good condition,
but with smaller gallery, buried within the remains of its cairn
and aligned to the NW. Two stones of the façade still
front the monument, but there is no portico. Set immediately
behind these stones two large jambs define the entrance.
On the other side
of the track, nearly 500 metres SE of the wedge-tomb is another,
ruined wedge-tomb, 35 metres S of which are (allegedly) more
remains comprising four widely-spaced earth-fast boulders which
are surrounded by many other displaced stones.
The whole complex is overlooked by the wind-farm.
H 062 040
About 200 metres N
of the Belcoo-Garrison road, overlooking Lough Macnean Upper,
this portal-tomb must have been spectacular before its 3 x 2.4
metre capstone collapsed. Only three other stones survive.
click the photo for another view
~ 2.3 km ESE at Drumcoo (H 083 392), tucked away in the
fold of a hill behind a hedge on land owned by Mrs Bernadette
Ferguson (who will happily guide the visitor) is one of the
stones known as Crom Cruaich (see Killycluggin,
It is a tall, thin limestone slab 2.2 metres high, with a natural
groove and faceting on the N face vaguely suggestive of a girdle
or belt and legs. Despite the local lore suggesting that the
stone walked from Killinagh across Lough Macnean Upper in county
Cavan, this stone looks very like a portal-stone of a destroyed
portal-tomb, facing NE, whose capstone fitted against the sloping
top of the upright.
over 4 km ESE, 120 metres SSW of Templenaffrin old church
(H 101 388) and beside a 'Fairy Thorn' tree, is a large, flat-topped
boulder over 1 metre high and square. with three massive bullauns.
The largest is over 35 cms in diameter and 20 cms deep.
Another seems as if the bullaun was ground into the bottom of
an earlier one. There is also a shallow depression that might
conceivably be the beginning of a fourth basin.
~ 6.5 km SE (H 107
355) is a court-tomb at Clyhannagh whose 19-metre long
gallery is distinctly kinked - suggesting that a two-chambered
megalithic kist was enlarged by the addition of two more chambers
and a forecourt - or that a single-court tomb of 2 or 3 chambers
became a double-court tomb of 2+3 or 3+2 chambers, whose shared
backstone is now (like the courts) missing. A few metres to
the E (H 106 355) is a sandstone slab propped on a boulder,
bearing one cup and ring and many other hollows natural, artificial
~ 7.5 km SE (H 1074
3048) in a boulder-strewn field in Killykeeghan, 15 metres
S of a stone enclosure, is a rounded limestone boulder with
two deep cups - one with a surrounding ring, the other with
an arc. A third small cup has a penannular ring. Other hollows
in the stone are probably solution-pits.
H 326 465
A short distance S
of the road from Enniskillen to Tempo are four stones of a handsome
five-stone row aligned E-W, whose largest is 1.3 metres high.
Apparently there was a fifth, larger, perforated stone known
as "The Wishing Chair", which was destroyed in the
first half of the 20th century.
~ 2 km ENE in Pubble
(H 346 468), on top of a low hill cut through by the road to
Lisbellaw, are "The Doon Stones", two stones placed one on top
of the other, with Bronze Age designs on contiguous faces. The
upper face of the lower stone, which is 1.1 metres high and
1.8 metres long, bears many cup-marks, and has a large cup-mark
on each of its other 3 sides. The now-almost-invisible lower
face of the upper stone (1.5 metres long) has a design of spirals
and a circle.
km WSW in Mullyknock on the summit of Topped Mountain
(H 311 457) is a conspicuous multiple-kist cairn (30 metres
in diameter and 4 metres high) which was excavated in the
19th century. This is signposted as a viewpoint and has a
path leading up to it.
km SW on the slopes of the appropriately-named Cloghtogle
Mountain (Cloch Tógala = raised stone) in Coolbuck
is a wedge-tomb (H 310 439) with a chamber nearly 8 metres
long in a well-preserved cairn smothered with gorse. There
are the remains of a stone circle at H 306 436, and some standing-stones,
one of which looks very like the backstone of a chamber.
To the NW in Cloghtogle townland, just a few centimetres
from a concrete path to a modern house (H 319 442) is "The
Druid's Altar", listed as another wedge tomb, but looking
like a small kist with a large roofstone.
4 km SSW in Mountdrum (H 308 431, about 900 metres
SSW of the Coolbuck wedge-tomb) is a triple stone circle
with 'spokes' of radial alignments oriented SE. Between the
almost-complete inner circle (or rather oval) about 5 metres
in diameter and the middle circle are 12 slabs set radially.
One metre outside the middle circle (2 arcs of which survive)
are the remains of the outer circle, about 8 metres in diameter.
An alignment of small stones runs off radially 30 metres to
100 metres N are the remains of a wedge-tomb, much of whose
cairn is embedded in peat.
The site now has a car-park and information-boards indicating
other features of what amounts to a 'megalithic complex'.
Petroglyphs (rock art)
H 113 463
by a motorable track up to a modern bungalow (park in front
of the bungalow and go down some steps, then over a stone
stile and the rocks are visible to your right), 500 metres
WNW of Boho graveyard (which has a fine 12th century cross-shaft
featuring Adam and Eve and the serpent on its E face), are
6 stones in a field in front of the bungalow, five of which
have cup-and-ring carvings. The largest of them, 3.3 metres
long and over 2 metres high, is almost completely covered
with the designs, many of them overlapping. On one of the
small stones the cups and rings are unusually deep. Some good
carvings are on a flat stone which appears to have been broken
from a larger one, since one of its motifs is only half there.
The engravings are partly obscured by heavy growths of lichen,
and are best seen in oblique light on a fine summer evening.