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

Ballybriest Wedge

Wedge Tomb


Ballybriest wedge tomb, the baby brother (sister?) of the better known and more easily accessible court tomb 120 metres or so to its north, is, to my mind, the best of the tombs in the townland. Another wedge tomb once stood 500 metres north-west of here, and now resides, reconstructed, in An Creggan Visitors Centre about 15 kilometres to the south-west in neighbouring Tyrone. Yet another possible wedge tomb once stood the same distance away but closer to the north and has now been destroyed by quarrying. There are also reports of 4 stone circles, various alignments and various cairns, making Ballybriest a rich prehistoric landscape.

All of these monuments were pre-bog constructions. The landscape now is pretty grim – partly-reclaimed pasture on the higher ground, boggy, rushy, swamp lower down, a massive quarry to the east, subsistence supplemented with industrial. The last time I was here up at the court tomb the weather was not untypically bleak, drenching us after 10 minutes, making for a hasty retreat to the car, giving up on attempting the wedge. Today, though overcast, is different – late summer temperate and easygoing.

Like over at nearby Tullybrick the tomb is low and squat, not quite a metre tall. Unlike Tullybrick, most of the chamber is still in situ. Two large roofstones cover a chamber made from large, laterally placed sidestones. A backstone, hidden by undergrowth, seals the rear of the tomb but doesn’t quite reach the covering roofstone, allowing those interested a gawk along the chamber out of the south-west facing entrance.

The entrance has the remains of a facade or maybe even an ante-chamber, two portal-like stones of which are the tallest of the whole construction. This is a really cool wedge tomb, much more satisfying than the court tomb on the prow of the hill to the north, which is no small compliment given how good that is in itself.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
21st December 2021ce

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