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Knockiveagh (Cairn(s))

From the NISMR:

On Knockiveagh hill with panoramic views all round. The cairn is composed of stones with a covering layer of turf. The perimeter is demarcated by a kerb of stones. It is quite a substantial ciarn, 31.5m x 32m in diam., standing 2.2m high at S. In the centre of the cairn is a large hollow made by treasure seekers in the C19th, 4.8m across & 1.8m deep. At the bottom a large slab, part of the cist, was exposed. Excavation of the site in 1954 showed that this cist had been displaced. Secondary burials of an adult & child were found & the cairn was found to rest on an early Neolithic occupation layer.

Ballybriest (now in An Creagán) (Wedge Tomb)

For a photograph of the tomb in its original environment, click this:
There is an extensive excavation report here too.

Clonasillagh Decorated Stone (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

The SMR entry from

Class: Decorated stone (present location)
Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes
Description: The remains of this monument have been described by Eogan (2000, 7-9) as follows: ‘What survives to-day is a large flat stone and a rounded boulder, possibly an orthostat and kerb-stone. These are not in their original position but were dumped there after destruction. There are some other stones in the area, but these are much smaller. The large decorated stone is at least probably one of the "large upright stones" referred to by Conwell. From local information, it appears that a monument stood very close to where the stones now are, but it is not possible to determine its precise location or the date of the removal, but this may have been about 1990. It was removed by bull-dozing; the two stones described in this paper were thrown aside and according to a local informant, a pit was dug into which other large stones were dumped. The area tends to slope to the south-east but adjoining ground to the north-west is higher. ??Stone A is a large flag 2.40m long. At one end it is 1.35m in maximum width; at the other it is about 1m. It is 0.40m in average width. The material is carboniferous sandstone with round calcareous concretions. Two parallel grooves near the top left-hand corner were caused by the teeth of the bulldozer bucket. Decoration occurs on the broad face that is visible and on one of the narrow sides. There is no decoration on the other three narrow sides. The other broad face is lying on the ground, but as it has not been possible to have it lifted, it is not known if it has decoration. The surface of the stone is weathered and this restricts information about the motifs, and in particular about the technique used in its application, but it may be assumed that pocking predominated. ?On the broad face cup-marks predominate, one hundred and forty one examples being present. These are natural hollows, often elliptical in shape, but there is a hint in some that human modification took place. The "cup-marks" vary in size from small examples 4cm in diameter to larger examples 10cm in diameter and 2cm in depth. Two other principal motifs are present - curvilinear and rectilinear. There are three curvilinear motifs. Two are similar, each of which consists of a hollow surrounded by a circle, the uppermost motif being the larger of these two circles. The lowermost circle is the largest overall example. This also has a central hollow which is surrounded by two concentric circles. A third member consists of an arc on one aide. A somewhat crescentic-shaped motif extends across the upper portion of the surface. This has inward-hooked ends. One end extends above and down one side of the central cup-and-circle motif. Another large motif consists of a straight line which extends up most of the surface. This appears to cut across the left side of the hooked motif and is, therefore, a later addition. Its overall chronological position cannot be determined, but its surface weathering is similar to that of the other motifs. Perhaps it is an overlay on a primary composition. However, prominent straight lines are not a feature of megalithic art. ?The decoration on the vertical side consists largely of a series of lines. These are usually parallel, either vertical or horizontal. Some constitute a motif in the shape of an inverted L, but others tend to form a gate-like pattern. Towards the broad end, the side slopes and in this small area there are twelve hollows, some of which Beam to have been modified. ??Stone B is a boulder that has minimum dimensions of 1.77m in length, 1.69m in width and 0.83m in depth. The material is also carboniferous sandstone. It has been damaged, probably at the time of bulldozing and flakes have been detached. There are ten hollows on one of the broader surfaces, mainly close to one of the edges. As is the case with Stone A, all seem to have been natural, but possibly some were modified as was suggested for Stone A.’ (Eogan 2000)

Clonasillagh Cairn (Cairn(s))

The SMR entry on

Class: Cairn - unclassified
Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes
Description: This has been described by Eogan (2000, 9-11) as follows: ‘This site is situated on a knoll, from which visibility is not very extensive, the most prominent feature being Carrigasimon hill about 4km (slightly over 2 miles) to the north-east as the crow flies. Before clearance, in July 1999, the site was very overgrown with a variety of bushes. Hence, apart from the top of what appeared to be a couple of longish stones, it was almost impossible to distinguish the type of monument. After clearance, the presence of eight stones arranged in a circle was revealed. There is also a small stone near No. 6. Only three of these, Nos. 1, 2 and 6, were in their original positions, the other five having fallen. There is a gap between the stones, and without excavation it is not possible to say if the circle was complete, but if it was, then, taking the dimensions of the stones surviving in situ, about fifteen stones are missing. If so, the original number would have been about twenty three. An interesting feature of the circle is the presence of two large stones (Nos. 1 and 6). They are the most substantial in the monument, with that on the east being 1.70m in height. Its opposite number is 1.66m in height. Furthermore, they are opposite each other, giving an East-West orientation. These are much larger than the only other surviving upright stone. No. 2, which is 0.93m in height. The dual east-west orientation recalls the similar orientation at Knowth, Site 1 (Eogan 1986, Fig. 16). This monument is 15m in external diameter. No internal features are visible but there is a spread of cairn all over, and while its average depth cannot be determined. It appears to be about 40cm. The surface of the interior is generally flat, but in a couple of places there is a greater depth of cairn than in others. Outside the kerb, for most of its circumference, there is a spread of smallish stones. These might represent cairn slip, if a higher cairn existed, or it could represent cairn debris that accumulated if such a cairn was removed. Professor Phillips reported that "all the stones at this site are composed of massive unstratified coarse grained greywacke formed by submarine debris flows. The greywacke shows a prominent cleavage and there are some elliptical shaped calcareous concretions which have been flattened and stretched on the cleavage. The rock type is typical of the Silurian aged bedrock of nearby Carrigammon Hill. The surfaces of the stones are rough and have a growth of moss, but it has not been possible to detect art.’ (Eogan 2000) ??ME010-044----_01.pdf: Plan and section of the monument (surveyed May 1995). ??Compiled by: Paul Walsh ??Date of upload: 21 April 2015

1. Eogan, G. 2000 A group of Megalithic monuments at Kingsmountain - Clonasillagh, Co. Meath, Ríocht na Mídhe, 11, 1016.

King's Mountain (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The SMR record at

Class: Passage tomb art

Townland: KINGSMOUNTAIN (Kells Upper By.)

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: Described by Eogan (2000) as follows: ‘According to Conwell (1873, 14) a mound existed at this site up to a few years previously when it was removed by the land owner and the material spread over the field as top dressing. This implies that the mound was of earth. The stone was in the centre of the mound and it is stated that it covered a chamber that was constructed from flag stones; these were smaller than the decorated stone. However, the size and shape of the decorated stone suggests that it was an orthostat rather than a capstone.

To-day the decorated surface faces in a southerly direction, but as the stone has been re-erected, its original orientation is not known, nor can it be assumed that it was re-erected the correct way up. The chamber contained bones “all of which have disappeared”. The stone, rectangular in cross-section, is slightly over 2m in height and measures 0.85m in length at the base. The material is sandstone, the surface being uneven and flaked in places. Professor Phillips reports that “this stone is composed of well sorted cross-bedded quartz sandstone with a few circular calcareous concretions. This rock is of Lower Carboniferous age and could have been quarried in the Oldcastle area to the west.” The decoration is confined to the lower half of one of the two broad faces where it occupies virtually the entire surface. The motifs consist almost entirely of spirals. These are six in number. The bottom two are anti-clockwise; the remainder are clockwise. There are three main spirals and these extend diagonally along the face from top to bottom. The uppermost spiral is of four turns but portion of the top is now missing. At its base there are two sagging lines; perhaps these are all that remain of two further members. To its upper left there are traces of a curvilinear motif. The middle spiral consists of seven turns. The bottom example has five turns. It has been damaged due to the removal of part of the stone's surface, especially on the right hand side. To the left of the central spiral there are three further spirals, but smaller and not so well preserved. That on the top has four turns; the middle has three and the bottom possibly five. To the bottom right of the large uppermost spiral there are two further lines. These are parallel and almost vertical. Between the outermost one and the edge there appears to be same slight depressions, possibly pickmarks.’ (Moore 1987, no. 26; Herity 1974, 244; Shee Twohig 1981, 224-5; Eogan 2000, 4-6)

Compiled by: Paul Walsh

Date of upload: 21 April 2015

1. Eogan, G. 2000 A group of Megalithic monuments at Kingsmountain - Clonasillagh, Co. Meath, Ríocht na Mídhe, 11, 1016.
2. Herity, M. 1974 Irish Passage Graves. Dublin. Irish University Press.
3. Moore, M. 1987 Archaeological inventory of county Meath. Dublin. Stationery Office.
4. Shee Twohig, E. 1981 The Megalithic Art of Western Europe. Oxford, Clarendon Press

Maudlings (Standing Stone / Menhir)


Class: Standing stone


Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: On a gentle E-facing pasture slope, c. 35m W of the N-flowing Morell River. A tall, almost square, granite stone (H 1.62m; L 0.29m; Wth 0.26m) is orientated on a NE-SW axis. A small perforation pierces the top of the stone NW-SE. Believed locally to be a scratching post, but exhibits no obvious signs of wear.

Compiled by: Gearóid Conroy

Date of upload: 10 June 2011

Rush (Chambered Tomb)

From the SMR at

Class: Megalithic tomb - passage tomb
Townland: RUSH
Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes
Description: Situated on a small headland south of Loughshinney village. Prior to c. 1838 the site comprised a circular cairn (diam. c. 30m) with a funnel-shaped entrance and a rectangular chamber (L 2.4m; Wth 1.8m). Human bones were found in the chamber and midden material containing a possible microlith (DU008-013003)-) was found underneath (Newenham 1838, 247; Flanagan 1984, 15). Two cist burials were found in the cairn and a third W of the kerbstones (DU008-013002-).The cairn was partially removed by land improvement in 1838, the remainder incorporated into a field boundary. Remains of this field boundary extend almost from the cliff edge for c. 21m NS. Large stones (> 1m diam.) and small stone cairn material are visible within the overgrown field boundary. One large boulder is out lying c.2m south-east of the field boundary. No markings or decoration visible on these stones. Magnetic gradiometry undertaken by the Discovery Programme (Licence 08R247) did not succeed in establishing a location for the passage tomb as a large part of the area had been subject to intensive ploughing.

Compiled by: Geraldine Stout
Updated by: Christine Baker
Date of upload: 15 December 2014

Slieve Glah (Cairn(s))

This monument is not in the Archaeological Inventory of County Cavan, published in 1995.

This is the entry on

Class: Cairn - burial cairn

Townland: POLLAKEEL (Upper Loughtee By.)

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: Located on top of Slieve Glah. A trig. station is constructed on top of a grass-covered cairn (diam. 13m; max. H 3m) that has been partly quarried, but there are indications of a small rectangular cist in its upper surface. It was reported by Michael Gibbons and Jim Higgins.

Compiled by: Michael Moore

Date of upload: 21 May, 2019

Iskaroon (Artificial Mound)

Herity, in Irish Passage Graves (1974), lists this as Me 71 and says "A much-ruined circular mound, about 12m in diameter and now standing only about 1m high, has 5 boulders set in an arc on the north-west side, probably the remains of a kerb. Other loose boulders lie a short distance outside the edge on the north side. The centre has been dug away. It stands on the highest part of a low hill about 76m (250') O.D."

Curragh (Kildare ED) (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

The entry at

Class: Barrow - ditch barrow

Townland: CURRAGH (Kildare ED)

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: On a long, gentle S-facing slope. The northernmost of a linear group of nine possible barrows (KD022-090---- to KD022-098----) with two more 'outliers' at the N (KD022-089----) and S ends (KD022-099----). Visible on an aerial photograph (DoD 1999). The group form a gently curving line (L c. 80m NW-SE) and all comprise small, low, circular, flat-topped mounds (basal diams. 4.9-6.2m; upper surface diams. 2.8-3.4m; H 0.1-0.2m), all (except the most southerly (KD022-098----)) defined by faint traces of a fosse (Wth 1m). They are not evenly spaced and lie between 2m and 20m apart.

Compiled by: Gearóid Conroy

Date of upload: 10 June 2011

Rath Maeve (Henge)


Described by Stout (1991: 257) as:
Rath Maeve is located on an escarpment which occurs on the summit of a ridge 1km south of the Hill of Tara. The soil is a grey-brown podzolic. A bank encloses an oval, dome-shaped interior with an overall diameter of 240m north-south by 275m east-west. It is best preserved in the north and south, where the bank reaches a maximum internal height of 2.5m, with a flattened top, and an accentuated drop to the exterior of 4m. In well-preserved stretches, the bank is 7-10m wide at the base. It reaches a maximum width of 15m in the West. The ground level surrounding the enclosure to the west is much lower than the level of the interior owing to its location on the escarpment. Thus the builders of this monument used a natural feature to enhance the size of the enclosing banks, and the shape of the natural escarpment dictated, to a certain extent, the ground plan of Rath Maeve. A townland boundary ditch runs outside the north-east section of the site; with dimensions of 1.5m wide and 1m deep, it could not have been the source of the bank. This material is most likely to have come from a scarped area, 25m wide, which can be traced along the inside edge or the bank. This gives the interior of Rath Maeve a domed shape common amongst the larger embanked enclosures. There are a number of breaks along the circuit of the enclosure, most of which appear to be the result of later disturbance. The original western (259 degrees T) entrance has a maximum width of 20m, and has been hollowed out of the natural escarpment. The townland boundary, which cuts across the western end of the monument, has an irregular kink and may have been diverted in this manner to respect an internal feature which was remove after the construction of the boundary. This occurs at the highest point within the enclosure, at a position where the entire site is visible. A circular cropmark, probably a ring-ditch lies north-east of this feature (L. Swan, pers. comm.). (Petrie 1837, 206; ÓRíordain 1964, 24; Evans 1966, 177)

Date of revision: 10 January 2017

This monument is subject to a preservation order made under the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2014 (PO no. 2/2008).


1. Evans, E.E. 1966 Prehistoric and Early Christian Ireland: a guide. London. Batsford.
2. Moore, M. 1987 Archaeological inventory of county Meath. Dublin. Stationery Office.
3. Ó Ríordáin, S. P. 1964 Tara: the monuments on the hill. Dundalgan Press, Dundalk
4. Petrie, G. 1837 On the history and antiquities of Tara Hill. Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, 18, 22-232.
5. Stout, G. 1991 The embanked enclosures of the Boyne region. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 91C, 245-84.
6. Thornton, G. 1980 A survey of the earthen enclosures of the Boyne Valley and related sites. MA thesis, University College, Dublin.

Kileenmore (Bullaun Stone)

So there's actually 10 basins.

Basin 1 : 0.27 diam x 0.05m deep
Basin 2 : 0.33m diam. by 0.16m deep
Basin 3 : 0.2m diam. by 0.05m deep
Basin 4 : 0.33m diam. by 0.15m deep
Basin 5 : 0.25m diam by 0.15m deep
Basin 6 : 0.32m diam by 0.13m deep
Basin 7 : 0.23m diam by 0.03m deep
Basin 8 : 0.3m diam by 0.13m deep
Basin 9 : 0.26m diam by 0.1m deep
Basin 10 : 0.18m diam by 0.04m deep

Carbury Hill (Round Barrow(s))

The northernmost and largest of the three barrows.


Class: Barrow - ring-barrow

Townland: CARBURY

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: Towards the N end of Carbury Hill (0D 470 feet) and the northernmost of three closely associated sites; another ringbarrow (KD008-005----), c. 180m to the SW, and a possible mound barrow (KD008-003----), c. 360m to the SW, all excavated by Willmot in 1936 under a State financed scheme for the relief of unemployment (1938, 130-42 (Site B)). Only part of the central area and a section of the enclosing element at E were excavated. The grass-covered circular area (int. diam. c. 30m) was found to be defined by an inner, rock-cut fosse (Wth c. 4.5m; D c. 1.1m), and an outer 'bank' (Wth c. 4.5m; H c. 0.8m) constructed of broken stone and gravel, with a possible (but unexcavated) entrance gap at the NE. The central area was composed of a layer of decomposed rock (D c. 0.45-0.6m) and contained two postholes of undetermined function and nineteen burials. These included four cremations, two of which were disturbed, and fifteen extended inhumation burials, four of which were children, and some of which contained the remains of more than one individual. The cremations appeared to precede the inhumations and one was accompanied by two iron rings and a pin-shaped fragment of iron. All the inhumations had their heads placed towards the SW, and one was accompanied by an iron shears. Other finds included flint scrapers and knives, a stone disc, a sherd of pottery of undetermined type and a 'bronze knob'. The two burial rites suggest a long period of use, perhaps spanning the Late Bronze Age/Iron Age period. The monument was subsequently restored to it's pre-excavated morphoplogy.

Compiled by: Gearóid Conroy

Date of upload: 10 June 2011

The middle of the three barrows.


Class: Barrow - ring-barrow

Townland: CARBURY

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: Some 180m NE of the summit of Carbury Hill (OD 470 feet) and the central of three closely associated monuments; a possible mound barrow (KD008-003----) c. 180m to the SW, and a second ringbarrow (KD008-004----) c. 180m to the NE, all excavated by Willmot in 1936 under a State financed scheme for the relief of unemployment (1938, 130-42: Site A). A circular area (ext. diam. c. 26m) was defined by an inner, rock-cut fosse (av. Wth c. 2.4m; D c. 0.45-c.0.9m) and an outer 'bank' (Wth av. c. 4.8m; H c. 0.6m) constructed of broken, rubble limestone. Opposing entrance gaps occurred at NW (Wth c. 3.65m) and SE (Wth c. 2.4m) and were matched by corresponding, undug, causeways across the fosse. The circular interior (diam. c. 11.6m) was covered by a layer of broken rock (D c. 0.3m) and contained a centrally placed cremation. A second cremation was found in the fosse at N. Finds included eight worked flints, a spindle whorl, two sherds of red 'gritless' pottery, a jet spoon, an iron file and a fragment of fused blue glass. An Iron Age date was suggested for the monument, which was subsequently restored to it's original morphology.

Compiled by: Gearóid Conroy

Date of upload: 10 June 2011

The southernmost barrow on the peak of Carbury Hill with the trig point.


Class: Barrow - mound barrow

Townland: CARBURY

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: On the summit of Carbury Hill (OD 470') and the southernmost of three closely associated sites; a ringbarrow (KD008-005----) c. 180m to the NE, and another ringbarrow (KD008-004----) a further c. 180m beyond to the NE, all excavated by Willmot in 1936 under a State financed scheme for the relief of unemployment (1938, 130-42. (Site C)). A small, circular, grass-covered mound (diam. 8.2m; H. c. 1m) had a slight depression on it's upper surface and had been used for bonfires in the past. The mound was composed of rock rubble mixed with earth. A small rectangular hollow (dims. L c. 0.3m; Wth c. 0.2m; D c. 0.25m) in the bedrock beneath the mound contained the cremation of a juvenile. No grave goods were found but its prominent siting might suggest that it was the earliest of the three monuments here and may date to the Late Bronze Age. The monument was subsequently restored to it's pre-excavation shape.

Compiled by: Gearóid Conroy

Date of upload: 10 June 2011

Howth (Cairn(s))


Class: Cairn - unclassified

Townland: HOWTH

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: Located on the summit of Kilrock on Howth Head. This is a circular round-topped cairn (diam. 6.5m; H 2-2.5m). There is a great deal of shattered stone visible on the surface. Kerbstones are visible along E and SW. A trignometrical station is marked at this point and there is the possibility that the cairn was constructed for this purpose. Spectacular views north to Ireland's Eye and east coast.

Compiled by: Geraldine Stout

Updated by: Christine Baker

Date of upload: 29 January 2015

Carn Beg (Stone Circle)


Class: Stone circle + Embanked enclosure

Townland: CARN BEG

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: Situated on a slight SW-facing slope. Wright (1758, vol. 3, 9-10, pl. 3) records and illustrates the remains of two concentric stone circles enclosed by an earthen bank with an external fosse. Outside this earthwork is a further stone circle enclosing all the other monuments. All the features were open to the E in the eighteenth century, probably because they were damaged by an avenue leading to Carn House, which is marked on the 1835 edition of the OS 6-inch map, and which now leads to the clubhouse of a golf course. There was an entrance, undoubtedly original, in the earthen bank at W, but both internal stone circles may have had an entrance at NW. Morris records (1907, 1, 4, 61) that the monument was completely removed at that time, but he probably sought it in Ballynahattin townland.
However, a text analysis revealed that Wright placed the monument ‘on the Planes (sic) of Ballynahaitinne', not in that townland as such (Buckley 1988, 53-4). The site is now recognised as the cropmark of a complex enclosure identified from an aerial photograph (CUCAP: BGL, 40) in the adjacent townland of Carn Beg. The cropmark is of a large enclosure (diam. c. 110m) defined by the negative mark of what is probably a wide earthen bank and traces of a fosse feature. In the interior are the negative cropmarks of two concentric gapped features (ext. diam. c. 50m int. diam. c. 30m), undoubtedly the stone circles which are S of the centre of the embanked enclosure. Archaeological testing (96E0321) immediately outside the embanked enclosure to the S failed to produce any related material (Murphy 1996).

Compiled by: Michael Moore

Date of upload: 18 December 2017


1. Buckley, V.M. 1988 'Ireland's Stonehenge' - a lost antiquarian monument rediscovered. Archaeology Ireland 2 (2), 53-4.
2. CUCAP - Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Unit for Landscape Modelling, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
3. Morris, H. 1905-07 Louthiana: ancient and modern. Mount Bagenal in Cooley. County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society Journal, vol. 1, 2, 17-22; 3, 38-45; 4, 57-61.
4. Murphy, D. 1997 Carnbeg, Dundalk: Enclosure and possible henge. In I. Bennett (ed.) Excavations 1996; summary accounts of archaeological excavations in Ireland. 79, No. 281. Bray, Wordwell
5. Wright, T. 1758 Louthiana: or an introduction to the antiquities of Ireland. London. Thomas Payne.

Union (Passage Grave)


Class: Megalithic tomb - passage tomb

Townland: UNION

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: Sited alongside a trackway in extensive woodland in a gap in the Ox Mountains 0.7km NW of Ballygawley Lough. There are a number of mature deciduous trees on the site and the stumps of others. To N and W the ground drops quite sharply to a stream that flows NW-SE. Trees inhibit the outlook from the site but Maeve's cairn on Knocknarea is visible to the NNW. A ring of boulders (19.5m N-S, 17.5m E-W) encompasses a slight platform. There are a number of gaps in the ring of boulders but the indications are that they were contiguously placed. Among the numerous gaps are two that may be original features, one at the SE (Wth 1.3m) and another at the NW (Wth 1.1m). A number of prostrate boulders outside the perimeter may be displaced. Some of the boulders encircling the platform are quite sizeable (the largest is 0.95m x 0.85m x 1.15m high) but others are noticeably smaller. The tops of at least three stones are visible about 3m inside the perimeter at the W. The status of these is quite unclear but their presence suggests that there may have been an inner ring of stones. Somewhat to the W of the centre of the enclosed area four stones lie prostrate. The larger two are about 1.6m and 1.4m in maximum dimensions. These may represent some form of internal feature. The nature of the site is somewhat uncertain but it may be a Carrowmore-type passage tomb. It is indicated as a small oval field on the 1913 OS 6-inch map. Some 100m to the W there is another possible passage tomb (SL020-275----).

The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Sligo' compiled by Ursula Egan, Elizabeth Byrne, Mary Sleeman with Sheila Ronan and Connie Murphy (Dublin Stationery Office, 2005).

Date of upload: 18 January 2008

Magheracar (Passage Grave)

Culled from

1986 Excavation
The monument, an undifferentiated passage tomb in a semi-circular kerbed mound, is at the edge of a sea-cliff, 5m high. The kerbed mound, 20m in diameter E-W, was assuredly originally circular, its northern half now lost to the sea. The tomb, facing SF, is 4.5m long and scarcely more than 1m wide, and stands 2.5m inside the eastern edge of the kerb. Prior to excavation, its N side and back survived intact, but only two stones (one broken) of its S side.

Within the tomb, 0.5m from the front, a sill-stone was visible. Because of its proximity to the cliff edge, about 0.2m at one point, the tomb is under threat and so an excavation, at the request of, and funded by, the National Monuments Branch of the Office of Public Works, was undertaken at the site over a five week period during September and October 1986.

The excavation was largely confined to an area 4m wide extending eastwards from the back of the chamber to and beyond the kerb. The grass-grown mound, which extends for some 5m outside the kerb, is made up of earth and stones, some quite sizeable.

A large kerbstone directly in line with the tomb is positioned slightly inside the circumference described by its fellows, and at either side, as if to highlight it, are two smaller stones. The kerbstones are rounded or oval in shape, the latter type set with a long side on the ground, and, where necessary to prevent toppling, supported by small rounded beach stones. Almost the entire tomb area was excavated, revealing, in addition to the sill-stone visible before excavation, two others between it and the back of the tomb, while across the front of the tomb two stones set side by side formed a double sill. The sills divide the tomb into four compartments, from the front approximately 0.5m, 1m, 1m and 1.8m in length. A large stone with smaller stones alongside served as a floor covering in the second compartment from the front. Between the kerb and the front of the tomb, stones had been laid flat on the ground to form what appears to be a pavement. A considerable quantity of fragmented bones, some pieces with charcoal attached, was found in the tomb. The bones were dispersed throughout the earthen fill and extended under the bases of the sills and in the case of the two inner compartments to the level of the uneven underlying rock. Objects found include a small number of flint scrapers, some pieces of chert, some small sherds of prehistoric pottery, three fragments of a single stone bead found close together, a broken length of bone bearing concentric semicircular scores, a possible decorated pin, and a miniature stone axe-head, 5cm long.

Eamon Cody, Ordnance Survey, Dublin

1987 Excavation
A second and final season's excavation was undertaken at this site over a six-week period during September-October 1987. The work was carried out at the request of the National Monuments Branch of the O.P.W. who also funded it. The monument is an undifferentiated passage tomb standing towards the eastern side of a kerbed cairn sited on a sea-cliff. The cairn measures 20m east-west but only 10m north-south as its northern half has been lost to the sea. Three cuttings were made in the cairn and, in addition, excavation of the tomb area (the focus of the 1986 season's work see Excavations 1987) was completed. A cutting, 19m long, was made from the back of the tomb to the west along the cliff edge and was continued for 8m beyond the kerb. The other two cuttings, parallel to each other and 4m apart, both 2m wide, ran approximately north-south. The more westerly of these was 10m long and extended inwards for 4m and outwards for 6m from the kerb, while the other, 12m long, extended inwards for 4m and outwards for 7m. Both of these cuttings crossed a grass-grown trackway that runs east-west just outside the kerb at the south side of the cairn. This trackway had been formed by a levelling of the extra-revetment material. At the west and south sides of the cairn two kerb-stones and parts of two others were exposed. These form part of a contiguously laid setting of large blocks of local stone.
The cairn body, under a sod cover some 0.15m thick, is of stones and intermixed loose brown earth to a depth of some 0.5m. The stones in its upper 0. lm are small and do not exceed Olin in maximum dimension while below them there are large slabs as much as 1J.8m across and 0.2m thick along with occasional water-rolled boulders. Under the cairn there is a compact layer, on average 50mm thick, of sticky earth, brown to blue-grey in colour, with small stones. This layer contained flecks of charcoal and occasional fire-reddened stones, reflecting pre-cairn activity. Finds made were confined to this layer and consist largely of waste flakes of flint and other stone. One of the few recognisable types is a leaf-shaped flint arrowhead, 30mm long.
Eamon Cody, Ordnance Survey, Dublin

Excavation licence number 00E0544
The two proposed houses were located to the west of Bundoran, in the townland of Magheracar, Co. Donegal. Both sites are close to an existing dwelling. The first was within the walled paddock to the west of an old house, and the second was a replacement to existing outbuildings to the north of the older structure. Owing to the presence of four significant archaeological sites in the vicinity, a passage tomb, a wedge tomb and the sites of two standing stones, the surrounding ground has been scheduled by Dúchas The Heritage Service.
The testing of the two proposed sites uncovered nothing of archaeological significance. Indeed, it proved that previous groundworks in the paddock field and scarping in the yard to the north of the existing house had removed all archaeology in these specific areas. In the paddock, the over-deepened soils at the southern end of the field allowed for the insertion of a closed sewerage system without the need to disturb subsoil. Other services were likewise brought to site without the requirement for any subsoil disturbance.
The second house, located in the yard to the rear of the existing cottage, was to be found on the footprint of existing outbuildings, the floor levels of which are lower than the severely scarped exterior ground. Sewerage will be via a pipe to an existing outflow, the route for which has been tested and found to be clear of all archaeological deposits. All other services will either use this cleared line or be above ground from the existing cottage.
The visual impact of the two houses on the nearby megaliths will be minimal, since both houses have been designed on a small scale, using traditional materials, and will ultimately form part of an existing cluster of traditional buildings. (Excavations Bulletin 2000)
Eoin Halpin, ADS Ltd, Unit 48, Westlink Enterprise Centre, 30-50 Distillery Street, Belfast BT12 5BJ.

Excavation licence number 00E0895
The proposed house is located to the west of Bundoran, in the townland of Magheracar, with existing dwellings to the south, west and north and access to a new development running along the east side. Owing to the presence of four archaeological sites in the vicinity, the surrounding ground has been scheduled by Dúchas The Heritage Service, which led to an archaeological condition for site testing being placed on the planning permission. A series of test-trenches was excavated covering the proposed foundations, driveway and service routes. Nothing of archaeological significance was uncovered.(Excavations Bulletin 2000)
Eoin Halpin, ADS Ltd, Unit 48 Westlink Enterprise Centre, 30-50 Distillery Street, Belfast BT12 5BJ.

Excavation licence number 01E0683
Testing, monitoring and excavation took place in advance of a twenty-house development at Magheracar, Bundoran, on the Leitrim/Donegal border. The proposed development site lies within an archaeological complex that includes a passage tomb, a wedge tomb and two standing stones. All of these monuments will be protected by the requisite buffer zones and will not be affected by the proposed development.
Geophysical surveying had revealed a number of anomalies that may indicate subsurface archaeological features. These were investigated through the manual excavation of four 20m by 20m areas. Two of these cuttings revealed possible archaeological features in the form of burnt areas and linear cut features. These cuttings were extended to discover the full extent of these features before excavation. At the same time, the remainder of the site was stripped of its topsoil, under supervision. Upon excavation, the cut features in Cutting C were interpreted as possible furrows of unknown date. There were no associated finds.
The burnt areas in Cutting D were further exposed and excavated, revealing a large corn-drying kiln with two flues. The kiln was stone-lined and exhibited evidence of extensive burning. One of the flues extended north outside the area of excavation, while the other extended southwards for a distance of almost 13m. No finds came from the kiln, although charcoal and bone samples may be able to provide a 14C date. The southern flue of the kiln cut a small pit, 0.2m deep, which contained a charcoal-stained fill and several large pieces of prehistoric pottery from at least four different vessels. They are likely to be Neolithic (some simple decoration is evident), but have yet to be examined by a pottery expert. The topsoil-stripping of the remainder of the site revealed two other areas of archaeological activity. An isolated collared urn filled with cremated material, completely intact and situated upright, was uncovered and barely missed by the machine. It was removed in a block of soil, relatively in one piece, and is in the process of being excavated in the lab by a conservator. Approximately 20m east of the urn, the remains of a circular stone platform were uncovered. Approximately 6m wide, this semicircle, comprising three concentric rings of flat stone slabs, was set in a low earth and stone mound. The northern half of this feature appears to have been removed without trace sometime in antiquity. Nothing was found within the circle or the mound except for two small blue glass beads and a few pieces of struck chert. A Bronze/Iron Age date for the feature is likely although its purpose has yet to be fully explored. A number of stray finds came from the topsoil across the site, most of which comprised struck chert and flint. A single hollow-based limestone arrowhead and a stone axe were included in the finds. (Excavations Bulletin 2001)
Christopher Read, North West Archaeological Services, Cloonfad Cottage, Cloonfad, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.


1. Borlase, W.C. 1897 The Dolmens of Ireland, 3 vols. London. Chapman and Hall, London.
2. Fagan, B.K. 1845-8 Ordnance survey, Hill Drawing Antiquity Books. Ms. Books 1-25. Compiled 1845-8 by Thomas Fagan. National Archives.
3. Herity, M. 1974 Irish Passage Graves. Dublin. Irish University Press.
4. Holly, D. 1976 Megalithic monuments at Tullaghan. Journal of Cumann Seanchas Breifne (Breifne Historical Society) 5 (17), 121-39.
5. Killanin, M.M. and Duignan, M.V. 1962 Shell Guide to Ireland. London. Ebury Press.
6. Killanin, M.M. and Duignan, M.V. 1967 (2nd ed.) The Shell guide to Ireland. London. The Ebury Press.
7. Killanin, M.M. and Duignan, M.V. (3rd edition; revised and updated by Harbison, P.) 1989 The Shell Guide to Ireland. Dublin. Gill and Macmillan.
8. Lockwood, F.W. 1901 Some notes on the old Irish sweat houses at Assaroe, Ballyshannon, and Kinlough, Co. Leitrim, and on several rude stone monuments near Bundoran and Ballyshannon. Ulster Journal of Archaeology 2nd Series, 7, 82-92.
9. Ó Nualláin, S. 1989 Survey of the megalithic tombs of Ireland, vol. 5, Co. Sligo. Dublin. Stationery Office.
10. Wood-Martin, W.G. 1887-8 The rude stone monuments of Ireland, parts III to VIII. Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 18, 50-94, 118-59, 254-99, 367-81.

The Nine Stones (Standing Stones)

This is the entry on
Class: Stone row


Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: Marked 'The Ninestones' on the 1839 OS 6-inch map. On the E side of the pass between Slievebawn and the Black Banks and Mount Leinster. Nine low stones set in alignment orientated E-W (L 11.5m; distance between stones 1m-1.2m; H of stones 0.38m - 0.63m). According to OS Field Namebooks, erected to commemorate nine men murdered and buried nearby.
While the extant remains are hardly sufficient to permit classification as a stone row with certainty the remains bear close resemblance to many monuments of this class. In light of the tradition recorded by the OS the interpretation given must be regarded as tentative and a proper elucidation of the monument must await further investigation.

Compiled by: Claire Breen

Date of upload: 19 August 2011
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