The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Court Tomb


The fine, partially restored court tomb of Cloghanmore is a fitting companion site to the nearby half dozen assemblage of portal tombs at Malin More. The monument lies beside the moorland road to Lough Auva in the shadow - or at least that would be the case if the sun was out - of the large 427m hill of Leahan. Seems everything is substantially constructed in these parts, whether by the unerring forces of nature honed over countless millennia, or by the comparatively recent hand of humankind.

Cloghanmore is a case in point, a major tomb in every respect, not least with regards its size. Approached from the aforementioned moorland road, however, the initial portents of a visit are perhaps not the best.... a small car park, not far from the tourist woollen mill, gives access to a bridge across a small stream, whereby a concrete path leads across boggy ground towards the site. Ah, one for the half interested tourist then? Well yes and no... for although access is straightforward, the monument itself is - judging by conditions underfoot - liable to flood somewhat and lacks the towering profile of a portal tomb to excite the more limited imagination, shall we say? Hence the couple of visitors who do join us do not linger past the few obligatory snaps for the 'folks back home'. More fool them, since what Cloghanmore lacks in profile it more than compensates for in sheer extent of court area and interesting architectural detail.

The court itself is almost completely enclosed by boldly projecting 'arms', the latter just failing to meet and thus allowing access at that point. Furthermore, small subsiduary chambers (with capstone) are located within the drystone masonry - a feature I have not seen before. The two main burial chambers - or galleries - are located to the west and are of more standard construction. One still retains a capstone, a fine place to sit and contemplate the original role of several enigmatic stones located within the court itself.

Yeah, it has been an enlightening day. Whatever reconstruction has been undertaken at Cloughanmore was clearly performed by similarly enlightened people in a tasteful, unobtrusive manner, thus leaving the aura at this great, slumbering, beguiling tomb intact. Not to mention ensuring the traveller is able to grasp just what a major Irish court tomb should look like. Do not be put off by the apparent 'show site' vibe. There is much more to this site than that.
26th January 2011ce
Edited 27th January 2011ce

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