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

Cranaghan (Slieve Russel Hotel, present location)

Wedge Tomb


Visiting this is a slightly awkward pleasure: thoughts of the absolute arrogance of digging it up and transferring it to your hotel and golf club and using it as a massively ignored decorative afterthought so you can continue to quarry out the side of the mountain on which it rested, weighed up against the desire to see it, check on it, maybe mourn it a bit.

It’s the monument that most points up the angst that sometimes accompanies me on my pursuit of these monuments. That pursuit has been made multiple times easier by the mapping system at both the Historic Environment Map Viewer in the north and the similar system at in the south. The wealth and depth of information available at these websites almost makes anything I do here redundant. Almost… because as we all know, these monuments need looking after, a task the authorities are not always too keen to pursue. Who said it here? “Progress was fine, but it went on too long.”

So in our need for economic progress we’re sometimes quite prepared to demolish what we once were. Precious funerary monuments from 3,500 years ago are deemed expendable and the safety blanket of ‘preservation by record’ is used to register their destruction. What happens the stones after? It seems that they’re then put in storage, the report is written up and we move on. Or as has happened here, permission is given to reconstruct away from the original site. On reflection, even the very notion of a visit here being an acceptable alternative to seeing it in its original place is contemptible. To do so is to almost acquiesce in a process that one finds hugely problematic. Almost…

So what’s it like anyway? Well it seems that it was in a fairly ruined condition before the excavations in 1992, and no matter what what was done, actually replicating what was found would be impossible. Three cists were found in the cairn, none of which are noticeable now. The structural stones of the chamber/gallery are quite tall, almost head height and there’s a lintel-like roofstone midway along. I get the feeling that the stones weren’t socketed as deep as they would have been in the original. Ivy is being allowed to grow over the stones making examination more difficult.

Overall the impression I get is that the excavators were quite diligent, but, once the initial task was completed, that was that. Mr. Quinn could continue his quarrying, his hotel has a garden ornament and life went on. But the story didn’t fully end there. For an alternative history, see the link in the folklore below.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
25th September 2021ce
Edited 25th September 2021ce

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