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


Court Tomb


Deep in the middle of nowhere you never know what you might find. Research first before you leave, for the the place can be treacherous, but don’t delve too deep, as revelation is the better part of the process. Park up as close as you can get and once agreement is reached, vault any obstacle and scour…

Sometimes the pin is dropped in the wrong place, anticipation and frustration in equal measure – it’s fucking ‘round here somewhere. Wretched, undulating semi-bog, thistly, rushy, dank… hazel scrub that seems to deter even the sheep. What am I looking for asks my mate. It’s a court tomb, or so they say. Maybe it’s been completely removed.

Limestone pavement is spied under wild ash, elder and hawthorn. A pincer movement, me down from the north, him up from the south, is this it? Here it is. The first sight is a large stone, outlying, probable part of the eastern court, laterally placed so maybe part of a jamb-like entrance into a sacred space, its smaller match hidden beneath the tangle of grass. This solitary stone is all that remains of the northern arm of the court.

Push deeper into the small glade – you know it’s there, nettles are nothing now. Huge jambstones signal the entrance into a three-chambered gallery, everything blocky, slab-like lumps of limestone, moss-covered. The southern wall of the first two chambers of the gallery has been removed. Massive slabs of corbelling sit precariously atop the northern wall. Covered by a spindly, splayed hazel tree, the third chamber is inaccessible, the jambs separating it from the middle chamber like sentinels.

Come out south and around the back and beyond the third chamber there’s more. Another tomb in fact, the south-western, double-chambered, baby bro of this dual court tomb set. Again there’s no southern wall – the floor of the gallery here is filled-in, deeply buried in the cairn. Substantial, tiered corbelled slabs remain on the northern side, here out in the open. Maybe there’s a court beyond, back in under the dense vegetation further west, or maybe there once was.

Barracashlaun (Barr an chaisleán?, top of the castle), western, wild, partially decrepit – go to google maps and see the quarry creep ever closer. The middle of somewhere approaches.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
27th September 2021ce
Edited 28th September 2021ce

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