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Passage Grave

<b>Gormanston</b>Posted by ryanerImage © ryaner
Also known as:
  • Knocknagin

Nearest Town:Ballybriggan (4km SE)
OS Ref (IE):   O179665 / Sheet: 43
Latitude:53° 38' 5.97" N
Longitude:   6° 13' 2.55" W

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<b>Gormanston</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Gormanston</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Gormanston</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Gormanston</b>Posted by ryaner


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Herity lists (the remains of ) 4 passage tombs in this area/townland, Me 67, Me 68 (the primary site here), Me 69 & Me 70 in his national numbering system. Me 67 is Gormanstown TD 1 and is supposedly the tomb on the clifftop above the beach, the site called Gormanston Beach here in the County Meath section. To further complicate and confuse things, he also uses 2 alternative names: Knockingen or Knocknagen for Me 67/Gormanstown TD 1. The use of TD 1, TD 2 etc. is a device he uses where there are groups of passage tombs in a given county, so-called passage grave cemeteries. Gormanstown is called Gormanston here and in the Archaeological Inventory of County Meath.

His entries in the Inventory section of the book are worth reproducing in full.

Me 67
Knockingen or Knocknagen
Sheet 28

A memorandum from G.A. Hamilton giving details of this tomb was read at the Royal Irish Academy in 1846. The mound was on the edge of the sea-cliff near Knockingen or Knocknagen on the north side of the mouth of the Delvin river. Part of the mound had already been washed away by the sea and on the beach below were several immense stones apparently fallen from above. Hamilton noted 'a considerable number of similar stones', on the beach 100m to seaward.

Excavations were carried out with the consent of Lord Gormanston, the landlord. The mound was made up of small round stones or shingle from the shore. A circle of large stones similar to those lying on the shore were found buried in the sand and shingle at some distance from the centre of the mound. 'Within this outer circle of stones we found, on what appeared to have been a floor of beaten clay, a large quantity of burnt human bones, apparently of persons of different ages: we found amongst them the bones of very young children. In the centre of the circle was a chamber constructed of immense flags, some of them more than 1.8m in height; and within this a rude stone basin, or rather a large stone of sandstone grit, with a cavity or hollow formed in it.' This basin bore 'evident marks of fire', and had a quantity of charcoal and burnt bones surrounding it. 'Amongst these bones we found some beads, made of polished stone, in shape conical, with a hole through each, near the apex of the cone.'

The mound described here appears to be the one of which the last remnants are now falling over the cliff. Its stones were used in the construction of the railway. It is marked as a complete tumulus in the 1837 edition of the OS Six-Inch map. The 'outer circle of stones' surrounding a floor of beaten clay at Knockingen may be an inner kerb like those noted at Carrowkeel and Carrowmore. The cremated remains found inside this circle but outside the chamber are in an unusual position, though the burials outside the chamber walls at Tara may be a parallel. The 'beads' described appear to be passage grave pendants. D'Alton mentions that many of the stones of the tomb were used in the building of the railway nearby.

Hamilton 1846, 251; D'Alton 1884, vol. I, cxxvii.

Me 68
Gormanstown Td. 2
Sheet 28
A much larger mound, 25m in diameter, the centre of which has been dug away revealing what appear to be a number of chamber-stones, stands 150m west of Tomb I on a rise in the ground near the main road.

Me 69
Gormanstown Td. 3
Sheet 28
About 100m due east of Tomb I, a jumble of boulders about 15m across can be seen on the beach at low water. There are no other such concentrations of large stones on the beach except at No. 4, described below. It can be suggested, as Hamilton does, that these are the remains of a passage grave, the kerb and other large stones of which have tumbled on to the beach in the course of erosion. The lack of any recognisable plan suggests they rolled down at intervals from a significant height.

Me 70
Gormanstown Td. 4
Sheet 28
Due north of Tomb 3, also on the beach, a circle of boulders 15m across and a number of others inside which can be seen at low water give a rough impression of the kerb and chamber of a passage grave. Their position suggets that they did not fall from a great height.

Irish Passage Graves – Neolithic tomb-builders in Ireland and Britain 2500 B.C.
Irish University Press, Dublin, Ireland, 1974 Michael Herity
ryaner Posted by ryaner
1st January 2017ce
Edited 14th January 2017ce

From the Archaeological Inventory of County Meath:

Some 150m from monument on the coast (ME028-021----) are remains of a much denuded kerbed cairn, 37m in diam. and averaging c. 1m high. Listed as passage tomb. (Herity 1974, 252)
ryaner Posted by ryaner
29th December 2016ce