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



Portal Tomb

<b>Keerin</b>Posted by ryanerImage © ryaner
OS Ref (GB):   
Latitude:54° 43' 22.31" N
Longitude:   7° 0' 16.39" W

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<b>Keerin</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Keerin</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Keerin</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Keerin</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Keerin</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Keerin</b>Posted by ryaner


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Sheet 13 of the OS Discoverer Series contains such an amount of megalithic treats that it would take an age to get to and see them all. And then when you’d completed that, you could start on the ones that are on the NISMR that aren’t marked on the paper map. The area between Omagh in the west and Cookstown in the east, north and south of the connecting A505, has to be one of, if not the richest areas in all Ireland. Possibly Parknabinnia in the Clare Burren comes close, but that’s mainly wedge tombs, whereas here it’s court, portal, wedge tombs, cairns, stone circles, rows and standing stones. And these are the ones we know of – what lies beneath the peat in the parts of mid-Tyrone that haven’t been explored yet?

Keerin portal tomb, or dolmen if you prefer, hints at the possibilities, as does, obviously, Beaghmore, but we’ll save that for later. In the meantime there’s this. In the middle of a bog, where reclamation work is continuing west of the road from here in Broughderg, is a little flooded gem. We parked at the entrance to the little shebeen/club with the Palestinian flag flying and headed through the kissing gate. 250 metres south-east of here are the roadside remains of a court tomb that we’d visited a few months back. We’d bypassed this in our rush to reach Derry, put off by the experience at the ruined court tomb where the bog has pretty much inundated what’s left. That was a mistake.

The tomb is not visible from the road 120 metres into the bog. The terrain is all rushes and heather above the peat. There is a vague path from the kissing gate but you need to be well into the field before you catch a glimpse of the capstone. From what what we could make out this is a near-perfect example of a small portal tomb. The literature doesn’t mention a doorstone and there are doubts about whether there is a backstone, neither of which we could check. The chamber is flooded, an oily soup gently swirling, quietly tempting further exploration which we declined. The capstone is at ground level at the rear, rising to about half a metre at the front where it has a handsome flattened face. The two portals are well-matched, as are the sidestones.

We tamped down the surrounding rushes in a bid to see a bit more of the monument but I felt like I was being a bit too intrusive. Large flakes of the capstone are falling into the gloop in the chamber and it seems that the stones are more fragile than at first glance. Judging by all the activity in the vicinity, it’s not hard to imagine that this whole area might also be one day ‘reclaimed’, maybe revealing Keerin in all its glory, but you would have to hope that any such work would be done by the proper professionals.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
25th October 2021ce
Edited 25th October 2021ce