Bremore decision vindication for heritage conservation
The decision to move large parts of the proposed port infrastructure at Bremore, North Dublin, away from an area containing a cluster of Stone Age passage tombs is a vindication for the heritage conservation lobby, an expert on ancient Ireland has said... continues...
A major change in planning for the new €300 million port at Bremore in north Co Dublin will result in large parts of the infrastructure for the port being transferred from Fingal into County Meath because of the presence of important archaeological monuments on the original site, the Meath Chronicle has learned... continues...
"Speaking at a recent meeting of the Balbriggan Historical Society, Professor George Eogan said the area on both sides of the Delvin River from Gormanston to Bremore is a large Megalithic cemetery dating from 3,500BC... continues...
Even though the Bremore monuments have been the subject of a protective order for decades, discussion of a new deepwater port site at Bremore poses a threat to their preservation. The port proposal is entering into the planning process... Read the full story in the Meath Chronicle.
So to Bremore passage grave cemetery once again. The endangered Bremore passage grave cemetery. Five recorded passage graves (by Herity), a recorded fulacht fia, a recorded unclassified barrow and an unrecorded shell midden, all within a small corner of a small headland in the northernmost part of the county Dublin coastline.
We parked on the lane and headed into the cropless field towards the south-eastern mound. If this ever was a passage grave, it's been totally ruined beyond recognition. The mound, along with the next one a little to the north and the one to the extreme west of the group, are only recognisable as anything prehistoric because the farmer has desisted from ploughing them into oblivion. These three have a couple of boulders each that may be parts of kerbstones, but all three barely rise a half metre above the surrounding terrain. They are all elongated, their longer axis pointing back towards the main mound.
The main mound is a large, circular cairn that seems to have been robbed out, as opposed to the 'collapse' mentioned in the Monuments Database entry. It reminds me of the chunk taken out of Dowth. I had hoped to be able to explore the chamber/passage area a bit more given the time of year, but last year's brambles are too tightly woven and still quite vicious. Pity.
The tomb is less than 5 metres from the shoreline. We traversed our way down below the main mound and found a rather impressive shell midden. This looks to have been a feasting area, but the sea has eroded into the material and is in danger of washing it away altogether.
The last of the five so-called tombs is barely recognisable under all the vegetation, even though growth has been slow with our late Spring this year.
I didnt think such a lovely site could be located so close to Dublin.
However it appears that its vicinity to Dublin could also be its downfall with plans for a port here.
The bay really is lovely and my thinking would be that the mounds are located here due to the abundance of sea food that would have been obtainable here.
The 5 mounds are covered with crops this time of year so it is best to access via the shoreline if this is possible.
I parked mid-way down the long track that leads to the seashore and walked the rest of the way.
Three of the smaller remaining mounds are quite distinguishable but maybe not for too much longer. A remaining piece of the kerbing on the far south-east mound has been damaged by a harvesting machine.
The obvious main mound has a distinguishable passage aligned north-west. The mound immediately to the west of it has merged with it in the undergrowth.
I could see the Cooleys and the Mournes away to the north from here today. Beautiful. The shoreline is covered with the shells of many types of seafood and this abundance could have accounted for a large proportion of the food from any ancient inhabitants.
This is the description of the main mound from the National Monuments database:
Situated on the coast at the mouth of the river Delvin. This passage tomb is part of Bremore cemetery (Rynne 1960, 79, Mound I). It comprises a circular cairn which is heavily grassed over (max. diam.29m; H 3.5m). Possible kerbstones on W side. Disturbance at NW may indicate the remains of a collapsed passage and chamber (Herity 1974, 209, 255).
An Taisce is The National Trust of Ireland, a map outlining the proposed port shows the importance of this threatened landscape, and how the development will destroy both archaeological sites and a fragile habitat.