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Portal Tomb

<b>Ballykeel</b>Posted by ryanerImage © ryaner
OS Ref (GB):   H995218 / Sheet: 28
Latitude:54° 8' 7.84" N
Longitude:   6° 28' 39.06" W

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Nestled within the Slieve Gullion caldera, along a road running north-north-west/south-south-east, are three tombs within a kilometre of each other, Latbirget, Ballykeel and Aughadanove. There was a possible fourth 600 metres further south, but nothing remains of that. All three remaining could be said to be the ruins of portal tombs but Ballykeel stands out.

Denuded of its cairn and the sidetones of the chamber, the large capstone rests on the two tall portals and the now shattering backstone. If you look at the point where the capstone rests on the eastern portal, it’s not much more than a fingernail in size. Gravitational forces persist and that backstone may need extra support in the future.

It’s a pity that the authorities didn’t buy the whole field in which the tomb sits. The dolmen is fenced in and it feels that way, no room around the remains of the cairn, but that’s quite a small gripe. At least it’s looked after regularly and access is straightforward and there’s a bit of parking around. I always swing by if I’m in the area, but today was mainly about other places so we didn’t stay too long. A happy place and well worth checking out.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
30th August 2020ce
Edited 7th September 2020ce

Pick a nice day to come here, its really spellbinding in the late evening on a fine day. That bloody pallet is still there though...

I took a good wander around the vicinity today, I never noticed how steep the valley is below the tomb, I didn't go all the way to the bottom but it looks fantastic perched on the edge of the ridge. This is another tomb I find difficult to imagine a cairn around, there is the large platform remains there but it is such a perfect angular structure it would be a shame to hide it away.

There is now an area cleared across the road which, if it is going to be parking, would fit quite a few cars. Most likely another bungalow though...
CianMcLiam Posted by CianMcLiam
19th July 2005ce