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Frustration on Cnocan an Iolair

I've never been over in this part of Dublin, and yet it's only a 15 minute drive from my house. When we eventually found the cairn and tomb I was thoroughly pissed off, having dragged Roisin and the dog through copious amounts of gorse and down many tracks unnecessarily. I misread the instructions and haven't bought a compass yet. Oh well, you live and learn.

There's not much to see here except the views. I'm seeing Dublin from an amazing amount of new angles. Having set out a 7 we didn't find the site until 8.30 so the view across to Howth was not the best with city haze and low light. The little tomb is pretty sad and the farmer piling silage beside it does it no favours. The cairn is huge, but nothing much to look at, the type of place I would have noticed in the past as a slight curiosity.

I did have a look around the back of the tomb and found 3 large stones about 3 metres below it that looked to me like they had come from the tomb. All I saw here got me to wondering about whether the site has ever been excavated. Part of the cairn is collapsing with a few large indentations. One in particular seems to have been scooped out, like at Dowth, and has exposed what looks to my extremely amateurish eyes as corballing. Does this mean a roof and passage? Answers on a postcard to TMA forum please.

Crockaunadreenagh — Images

<b>Crockaunadreenagh</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Crockaunadreenagh</b>Posted by ryaner

Slievethoul II and III — Images

<b>Slievethoul II and III</b>Posted by ryaner


Piperstown, Glassamucky & Cunard

Met Tom at my supposed recumbent and flanker. Boy have I a lot to learn. Shots have been deleted now. In my defence I'd say that this whole area is a veritable megalithic quagmire (literally and metaphorically). There are many, many stones that may-be or may-be-not. The whole featherbed ridge from Piperstown, over and down into Cunard and back up to Glassamucky has a mound here, another one over there, this that looks like a standing stone, and that that looks like a fallen standing stone. For an inexperienced stone-hunter like me it's maybe not the best place to start. So, self-justification over, on to the real stuff.

We went to Glassamucky Bullaun stone, my first time seeing one of these. The large indentation on the top of the stone had some rainwater in it. I was tempted to have a drink but thought better of it (I always feel the need to interact with these places in some way: passive viewing and photo-taking feels a bit too touristy to me). Tom pointed out that the two other indentations are on the edge of the back of the stone, blowing my theory that their purpose was to collect water.

Glassamucky Mountain — Images

<b>Glassamucky Mountain</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Glassamucky Mountain</b>Posted by ryaner

In the fierce wind we headed down into the valley to Cunard Portal Tomb.

Cunard — Images

<b>Cunard</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Cunard</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Cunard</b>Posted by ryaner

I'd been down in this direction about a year ago with the dog, wanting to see the small gorge cut through by the Dodder. My memory of it had been that it was extremely boggy and that I had gotten a soaking for my troubles. Well, some things change and some things stay the same. It's now late May and I reckon that this ground rarely, if ever, dries out. So if you're coming here, be prepared. My Doc Martens offered me protection for about the first 100 yards. After that it was saturation, though I still tried to walk on the heather even though it was too late (strange that).

The little, sweet portal tomb of Cunard was a joy. Sitting there in its little clearing above the swiftly moving stream it seemed that the tree beside it was looking over it, protecting it from… what? The sheep? Anyway, we spent about a half hour here and in its vicinity. The capstone reminded me of a whale, with it's large, horizontal split. The chamber is hard to work out. Tom said that some have doubts as to whether this is actually a portal tomb. If you ask me I don't see how it couldn't be.

We had a look around the vicinity. Found a nice piece of gleaming white quartz that had been revealed by the burning of some gorse. It was so polished that Tom said it must have come from the stream at some stage. On the way back up the hill we encounterd some interesting aligned stones. Like I said at the beginning, the whole area is full of ancient stuff.

As a small non-megalithic aside: I was fascinated by the small carnivorous plants that are to be found in abundance around this tomb. What an amazing place! Thanks Tom.


Piperstown Hill – Heather, gorse, bog and… stones

Finished mowing the gardens at half eight tonight. I couldn't resist heading out somewhere, and where better than Piperstown? It's a 5 or 6 minute drive from my house, the OS map says it has 3 cairns on its southern side and there is only a small amount of data about it on TMA and

I must admit at this stage that I'm a little out of my depth here. I don't know what I saw up there but I'm convinced of quite a bit of prehistoric activity. I left the map in the car and headed in the direction of the cairns, this time just me and sprout. The light was fading fast so I had to be quick. There is a lot of rock strewn will-nilly about place and I had to stop myself from checking every one. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spied this foot and a half high piece of perfection. The pictures I am posting of it don't do it justice. It's a 3 sided pyramid and looks a little like the eggs out of the movie Alien. Maybe a little too perfect, but who knows? It's embedded in the earth and the grass has grown quite high up its side.

At this stage I had wandered off away from the direction of the putative cairns. Then, at the bottom of a burnt out area, I saw this smallish mound of stones. I headed for it and investigated. It seemed that this was just a pile of stones. I had mentioned my new-found interest in things magalithic to a hill-walker friend of mine and he had reminded me of the tradition of placing a stone on a pile, or cairn as he called it, on the summit of a mountain that you had just climbed. I thought maybe that's what this was but it wasn't on the summit. In fact it was close to the spot that's marked on the map as having a cairn. Looking around the mound there was some stones embedded in the earth and that looked distinctly like kerbing.

Perplexed, I headed up the hill to catch the sun setting. On the summit there are tons of stones but I didn't have time to really check them out. I was itching to see if I could find the other 2 'cairns', so I headed back down. The sun was now behind the hill and the light was really bad but I found what I think are the other 2, really just 2 overgrown mounds with some possible kerbing.

Happy with what I had seen I headed back to the car. I decided to head back around the long way, up onto Military Road and down through Kilakee back to Ballycragh. My stone radar was on and as I headed up the road, about 100 metres from the Military Road junction, I spotted a pair of stones by the side of the road that screamed "investigate". I'm reading The Modern Antiquarian at the moment and am on the chapter on the Recumbent stone circles of Dunnideer and Aberdeenshire. I need to post the shots somewhere to see if I've 'found' something, as it looks a lot to me like that this pair could be a recumbent and a one of its flankers.

Piperstown — Images

<b>Piperstown</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Piperstown</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Piperstown</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Piperstown</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Piperstown</b>Posted by ryaner


Ballybrack & Glendruid

A quick spin from town out to Ballybrack found me and my mate Maurice wandering around this lovely little dolmen. I couldn't help grinning for the 15 minutes we spent here. What a joy to behold in this suburban wilderness! When we arrived there was a bunch of lads in their jammer hanging out. They gave me the "Oh look, he's two more weirdos coming to take pictures of the dolmen" look. Being a friendly sort I gave them the nod... Nothing. Stared right through me. OK, so this tomb is on a local authority housing estate where concerns may be a little more urgent than checking out a 4,500 year old temple. Swiftly moving on I headed for the tomb.

We were impressed. Maurice isn't really into megalithics (I've yet to meet someone who is) but he thought it was amazingly incongruous that it just sits there, traffic and folks going about their business. It's a small beauty. As I approached I was sure I could make out some sort of spiral on the front but don't know if my eyes deceived me. I'll post a shot of it here when I check the camera.

Ballybrack — Images

<b>Ballybrack</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Ballybrack</b>Posted by ryaner<b>Ballybrack</b>Posted by ryaner

In the pissings of rain Maurice headed back to the car. I didn't want to leave (once again). Possibly if you saw this all day, every day it wouldn't have the same impact but I have to say I was laughing as I was leaving. The sheer wondrous pleasue of it!

So, back down the N11 and up to Cabinteely to see if I could get to see Glendruid. I called into Dolmen House (I didn't know what else to do) where a very helpful woman (the owner I think) pointed me down her back garden and to a rough path through the briars. She told me to be careful as it gets steep at some point. It was still pissing at this stage and Maurice had a "this is insane" look about him. On viewing the path down I at first got cold feet. But when I get this megalithic buzz on it seems that I can't stop. Off I went and coaxed Maur along until I got to the steep bit and fell on my arse, covering my jacket and jeans in mud. I told Maur to go back up and kept going.

The rain wasn't helping here but I was in bits already so a bit more of a soaking wasn't going to do any harm. Wow! Was it worth it?

Glendruid — Images

<b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner

Was it …! And I thought I had seen immense capstones before. That grin returned. I forgot the discomfort and tried to take in what I was seeing and touching. The reinforcing concrete started to bother me but I just searched for an angle where it was hidden. I couldn't resist climbing up onto the capstone. Maybe not the done thing but I just had to. The chamber offered great shelter. The immensity of the 2 side stones was awesome. The logistics of putting this thing together blew me away. I would really love to know from whence the capstone came. Did they have to cart it far? Maurice interrupted my reverie by calling me on my mobile to check if I was ok. Ah well, back to reality and the 21st century. I will have to come back here on a sunny day and spend a couple of hours, possibly on my own.


Ballydemonduff and Glencullen

Once again, finished work at 6 and legged it home. Got the ixus, a PDF from Megalithomania, Róisín and Sprout and headed for Ballyedmonduff.

Ballyedmonduff — Images

<b>Ballyedmonduff</b>Posted by ryaner

This tomb is easy to find and quite beautiful - though having checked the site here, I see my suspiciions about renovations are confirmed. It is what it is, and of all the sites I've been to so far, it's a tad sterile. That said, I'm glad to have been there. Some of the remaining stones are gorgeous. The chamber and gallery are impressive and the kerbstones look like they're in their original places (but then again what do I know?). I guess the main missing feature is the lack of views, though this didn't bother me too much at Kilmashogue.

Róisín and the dog sniffed around and got bored pretty quickly so I never got a true sense of the place. I'll have to return on my own sometime. Before leaving I couldn't resist climbing the official sign to see if I could get a different angle to shoot from. Much hilarity ensued as I couldn't control the wobbling of the sign from my precarious position but eventually Róisín calmed down enough to steady it for me.

It was 8 by the time we were leaving and I was going to attempt to get to Onagh, but like last time diverted instead to somewhere handier, this time Glencullen standing stone.

Glencullen — Images

<b>Glencullen</b>Posted by ryaner

How many times have I stood on the third tee in this par 3 golf course and never deemed to invetigate the funny old rock with the sign beside it 20 paces away? Bit like Larch Hill last time. Open your eyes buddy! Don't know who put it there, don't know when or why, but it's lovely and I'm glad it's still there.
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Taxi-driving, graphic artist with a penchant for high hills and low boulders. Currently residing in Tallaght where I can escape to the wildernesses of Wicklow within 10 minutes.

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