M 348 199
Near the shore
at the head of Lackanaloy Creek, 8 km SW of Oranmore, this little-known
tomb partly collapsed when one of the orthostats shifted and fell.
M 426 058
Visible from a
lane running E from a by-road, opposite Caherglassaun Lough, this very
picturesque Dermot and Grania's Bed is probably best viewed from
afar. It is sited on a stretch of Burren-type limestone, at the NNE
end of a cairn some 22 metres long. Two tall portal-stones (nearly 3
metres high) and a backstone precariously support a tilted capstone
3.5 metres long.
~ 800 metres S
in Ballynastaig is a wedge-tomb roofed with a single massive
~ 400 metres W,
to the N of the lane approaching Crannagh dolmen is Ballynastaig overgrown
stone fort. In it are a wall-chamber and a lintelled passage with steps,
which may be a flooded souterrain - or a well.
~ 7.3 km NNE,
in a field behind the stump of a Round Tower in Ardrahan (M 462
123) is a remarkably phallic standing-stone, less than one metre high.
~ 11 km SSE, on
the W side of the road 400 metres S of Ballynakill Lough (M 461 948),
is Derrycallan North "Dermot and Grania's Bed": a small
wedge-tomb with trees growing out of it. A small chamber closed at both
ends is covered by a single roof-slab over 3 metres long. The S side
also of the tomb consists of a single slab over 2.5 metres long. Part
of the cairn survives.
~ 8.5 km SW, in
county Clare, is Ballaghaglash wedge-tomb.
Derryinver: Stone-row (alignment)
L 688 608
sited 500 metres E of a by-road which flanks Tully Mountain, the six
stones of this alignment (highest 1.8 metres) run from E to W.
~ About 6 km SW in Letterdeen
(L 646 525) is a standing-stone of granite, 1.6 metres high on a small
salt marsh at the east end of Streamstown Bay, not far from the water.
It has the hunched aspect of several standing-stones, notably Crom
Cruaich at Lough Gur in Limerick and Tamnaharry in Down.
~ 8.8 km WSW in Cleggan,
picturesquely sited on the N shore of Cleggan Bay (L 605 590), beside
a low cliff just 9 metres above the sea, is a court-tomb whose court
no longer survives, but whose fine three-chambered gallery retains
a large and beautiful roofstone over 3 metres long covering the second
chamber and resting on what may be a displaced lintel-stone. This
tomb and the two others nearby overlook the island of Inishbofin with
an outline which resembles a reclining or sleeping woman.
~ 1.6 km W of Cleggan in
another fine setting close to a beach in Sellerna Bay is a bug-shaped
court-tomb at Knockbrack (L 590 586), with a gallery 4 metres
long which is half filled with sand, shell and bits of stone. It is
just 1 metre wide and covered by a single roof slab.
~ 4.3 km NNE of Cleggan,
in Legaun (L 592 548) behind a bungalow and below a rocky escarpment
is a ruined portal-tomb whose chamber 4 metres long, 1.5 metres wide
and 1.6 metres tall would have made it one of the largest portal tombs
in Ireland. The portal-stones, however, are only 1.8 metres high.
Just under 5 km SSE of Derryinver (L 701 563) is a good
three-stone row at Baunoge.
~ 13.6 km ESE of Derryinver in Gleninagh (L 815 552) is a row
of six quartzite stones no higher than one metre.
~ Just over 21 km ESE, on low ground just N of the Bealanabrack river
(L 886 554) in Poundcartron is a quartz stone-row of four low
quartzite blocks plus remains of a fifth.
1600 metres E by S in Knockaunbaun (L 904 552) is a pair of
Other pairs of quartz blocks
occur in Galway and Mayo - e.g. Ballynew (L 626 582), and two
at Crocknaraw (L 665 560) - both near the Cleggan tomb
(above). A very handsome
solitary stone is reported at Garranbaun (L 662 577).
~ 20 km SE is Scrahallia
wedge-tomb (see below).
Aengus or Dún Aonghasa: Stone fort
L 817 098
This is the most
famous of the stone forts on the Aran Islands in Galway Bay (boats from
Galway town and other ports in Galway Bay, depending on the season).
Although over-restored, it is a magnificent structure perched on top
of a sheer 60-metre cliff,
with two rows
of semicircular defences and a very fine "chevaux-de-frise"
of thousands of sharp pieces of limestone set upright to
impede access. A fourth (outermost) wall is almost destroyed. A low-lintelled
doorway leads in from the N. The innermost citadel (whose massive buttresses
are modern) has a fine lintelled entrance, wall-walks, and chambers,
and encloses an area roughly 45 metres across.
~ 2.2 km NW of
Kilronan is Dun Oghil (Dún Eochla, L 863 098), another massive
(and over-restored) fort, circular and surrounded by the tiny stonewalled
fields that are typical of the West of Ireland. Piles of stones inside
the citadel are the remains of huts, and there are terraces and stairways.
~ 7.4 km WNW of
Kilronan is Dun Onaght (Dún Eoghanacht), an almost circular,
single-wall fort with terraced rampart and three house-sites.
~ 2.2 km SW of
Kilronan is Dun Doocaher (Dún Dubhchathair or the Black Fort),
a promontory fort with remains of chevaux-de-frise outside a massive
curved rampart cutting across the base of a cliff-girt promontory.
~ 3.5 km WNW of
Kilronan, in Oghil is Dermot and Grania's Bed (Leaba Dhiarmuid
agus Gráinne, L 850 009), a fine wedge-tomb with three overlapping
roofstones covering a gallery over 2.5 metres long.
~ On the middle
island of the Aran group, Inishmaan, is Doon Conor (Dún Chonchúir,
L 942 048 in the townland of Carrowntemple),
but very impressive, with terraces, wall-chambers and (restored) hut-sites.
M 688 039
The chamber of
this fine but threatened tomb is over 7 metres long and 1.3 metres high,
with traces of a portico. It seems to have been originally covered by
just three roof slabs - two of which are still held aloft but slipping.
The central one lies on top of collapsed side-stones. Trees are seriously
endangering the structure.
East: Stone circle, etc.
M 645 154
2.4 km ESE of
Loughrea, immediately SW of the road to Tynagh and Portumna, is 'The
Seven Monuments', a stone circle comprising seven stones set in a low
earthen ring or henge one metre high and some 22 metres in diameter
which has a single gap or entrance. The stones are said to have been
re-erected, and the small cairn in the centre of the ring may have been
built by the Ordnance Survey in the 19th century.
Nearby is a terraced mound which may have been an assembly-place.
~ In Masonbrook
townland immediately SE is a trivallate earthwork nearly 100 metres
in diameter which has the remains of a souterrain. There are numerous
unexcavated sites of importance near Loughrea. These include the ringfort,
house sites and field systems at Gorteenapheebera and the ancient cashel
and village' at Toanroasty. Raths ('ring-forts' or fortified
farmsteads) are widespread particularly north and west of the town.
~ 6.5 km N by
W is "The Turoe Stone" (below).
Scrahallia: Wedge Tomb
L 793 432
Near the top of isolated
Cashel Hill, south of the Twelve Bens of Connemara, raised on a man-made
platform above marshy ground, this tomb can helpfully be viewed from
above. The gallery is covered by a single, unshifted capstone. In
front of this on the south side is a tall flanking stone similar to
those found at Island (Cork). The walls
of the gallery are made of small orthostats, and chocking stones have
been inserted on both sides ensure a level roof. The double walling
extends backwards to a point 2 metres behind the backstone of the
My colleague Tom FourWinds
considers that the boggy area in front of the tomb could well have
been wet when the tomb was built, because a line of six evenly spaced
stones lead across it to the front of the tomb. These, 'placed a perfect
pace apart', might well be stepping-stones.
~ Around 20 km N, amongst
the Twelve Bens and the Maamturk Mountains are several stone-rows
(see under Derryinver, above.)
Decorated "Celtic cult-stone"
M 630 223
In a field beside a house,
up a lane to the N of a by-road, 6 km NE of Loughrea, this remarkable
phallic pillar was moved from the Rath (Iron Age farmstead) of Feerwore
(Fír Mhór: Big - or Great - Men) in the same townland,
where excavations suggested that an open site dating to the last centuries
before the Christian Era was later enclosed. The stone is of granite,
90 cms high, and the top half is covered with a continuous abstract
curvilinear design carved in relief in the Celtic style known as "La
Tène", with a kind of circumcision-line of Greek-key pattern
beneath it. The flowing design can easily be interpreted as semen.
It is amazing that such a wonderful object - resembling (and obviously
as important as) the Navel Stone at Delphi, has survived in Ireland
up to the 21st century, remaining outdoors, albeit somewhat spoiled
by a concrete surround and hideously-painted cattle-grid.
More recently, an ugly shed has been erected in order to protect the
stone from vandalism, through whose dirty plastic windows the stone
may be glimpsed.
It has a kind
of "sister" in the egg-shaped Castlestrange
Stone, county Roscommon.