This beautiful egg-shaped
stone, similar in material (granite) and style ("La Tène" curvilinear)
to the phallic one at Turoe in county Galway, lies beside
the avenue in Castlestrange Demesne (private estate), 2.4 km
NW of Athleague. Sixty cms high and 90 cms long it is decorated
all over with a continuous swirling pattern which is engraved
rather than carved in relief like the Turoestone. Since I first saw it in 1971 it has sadly deteriorated
due to national neglect.
G 767 023
In a field immediately
N of the Sligo-Mullingar railway, to the N of the Boyle-Tobercurry
road, this tomb (also known as Tinnacarra or Ballynanultagh
Dolmen) comprises a polygonal chamber and a huge roofstone
measuring 4.5 by 3.8 metres, which has slipped back from unusually
high (2.4 metres) portal stones, between which is a massive
doorstone entirely blocking the entrance. The sides of the chamber
are formed by single stones, between which is a small, low boulder.
The present circular outline of the surrounding mound is due
Souterrain and cave.
M 798 834
1.6 km S of Rathcroghan
crossroads and approached by a tarred lane leading off the Rathcroghan-Lissalway
road, is the damp and magical Cave of Cruachú,
known also as Oweynagat or Cave of the Cat: a deep limestone
fissure into which the visitor may descend from a circular ring
(perhaps an Iron age burial place) through a dry-walled souterrain
some 3.6 metres long, roofed by large lintel-slabs, two of which
bear Ogam inscriptions. Only the most intrepid should venture
for an online description of a descent into the 'cave'.
The area around Rathcroghan
crossroads is rich in earthworks associated with Cruachain,
seat of the Kings (i.e.warlords) of Connacht, and scene of the
ritual drinking-feast and king-making marriage to the goddess
Maeve (Medbh) known in England as Queen Mab. The name Cruachain
also refers to the North Roscommon limestone plain.
~ 800 metres SE is
Knockannagorp (Hillock of Corpses) alias Dathí's Grave,
a small ring-ditch in the middle of which is "Dathi's Stone",
a 1.8 metre high, brownish slab said to mark 'the grave of the
last pagan king of Ireland', an entirely mythical personage.
The significance of the stone remains a mystery.
for an historical tour of the complex on the 'Voices from
the Dawn' website.
~ 5 km
NW of Rathcroghan crossroads, in Drummin (M 758 873),
is a pair of standing-stones, one of which is reputed to have
an ogam inscription.
4 km W of Lecarrow,
on a rocky knoll to the E of a by-road, is" The Cloghogle
Stone" (cloch togálach = raised stone) -a
small picturesque chamber 1.2 metres high inside, composed of
single slabs, is partly closed at the entrance by a stone 70
cms high. The cairn has mostly disappeared.
3.5 km E by S, immediately to the W of the main Roscommon-Athlone
road near Lecarrow at Knockanyconor, is "Nellie's
Rock". Although not accepted as a sepulchre in the Megalithic
Survey - nor even listed among the doubtful - this striking
arrangement of stones is of interest -and seems to me to be
the disordered remnants of a court-tomb. One stone, apparently
a slipped roofstone, is 3.3.metres long; another is a little
smaller. Upright stones lean at various angles. The local name
may refer to a poor woman who, during the 19th century is said
to have reared a child under the great flat stone. A number
of megalithic tombs (and of course caves and rock-shelters)
were used as dwellings in "the most wretched country in
Europe" during the 19th century. And in France today many
upland chamber-tombs are used as shepherds' overnight shelters.
km SSE (6 km WSW of Athlone) in Mihanboy
(M 986 403, sheet 47) is a ruined portal-tomb, originally supported
on portals 2.3 metres high, whose backstone has collapsed -
thus causing the roof-stone to slide back, taking the door-stone
page is expanded on the developed
from this website