My final stony entry from my memorable holiday in Donegal. This is thanks to my map reading, tomb hunting companion for the week. After visiting the Muckros peninsula, we found a rather breath taking megalithic tomb at Kilbeg on top of hill overlooking Teelin Bay and the Slieve League mountains. We had to climb over a fence and up a hill to see it - I must admit to being a little reticent but friend went up the hill first before urging me to follow. I did and it was so worth the climb to the top of the hill - siting a tomb in such a place of wild beauty makes so much sense when you are actually there. The tomb is basically what we would describe as ruined but still very recognisable as a court tomb.
Nearest town Kilcar, Map ref: OSI (Ireland) Discovery Series, No. 10, grid ref: 598755. This series of maps has all the megalithic tombs and other ancient monuments shown on it so an 'essential'.
Visit to what we thought Shalwy Court Tomb 23rd May 2016. Having read Gladman's field notes and studied the existing photos I think we may have found Croaghbeg so am transferring my original field notes from Shalwy to Croaghbeg. Both close to each other and both very difficult to access.
Tuesday dawned warm and sunny and in the morning we set off to find Shalwy /Croaghbeg Court Tomb (east of Kilcar: our ref - OSI 648753).
Using OSI map (my friend is pretty good at this) we parked car in layby on the main road out of Kilcar and walked down a steep single track road, turning right at the bottom. We then walked about a mile along a straight(ish) narrow road to the next right turn back uphill – the walk overlooked the sea which was sparkling that morning, early foxgloves had started to appear, a peat stream fell down the hillside and appeared from under the road on the other side to tumble down the rocks to the sea. Quite a few houses along this road, all well spaced out and beautifully maintained, some unoccupied, probably holiday homes. In fact we asked a woman who was painting her garden bench for directions and it was she who directed us back uphill to the spot where we could a large, newly built grey house on the side of the hill.
Walking back uphill again, we passed a well at the side of the overgrown track – this beautiful wild hillside now has individual houses appearing (something we noticed around Kilcar too) and we finally spotted the rather splendid court tomb - with a four stone chamber standing separately in the court area - at the bottom of the hill behind the houses we had walked past earlier and immediately below the new grey house, which didn’t appear to have anyone living in it (another holiday home perhaps). The court tomb was surrounded by nettles and brambles, the climb down very steep. My intrepid friend was up for it but I wasn’t – mindful of the fact there is often no mobile phone signal in Donegal (and there wasn’t here) I felt it wasn’t worth the risk of turning an ankle or otherwise injuring self so settled for taking a photo with my zoom. Yes, I admit to being a wimp but this wimp went on to have lunch in Killybegs before spending the afternoon exploring a narrow unspoilt peninsular known as St. John’s Head – which has a lighthouse at the end and a coral beach.