Emerald Isle

Unclassified Tombs

Irish and Celtic myths and legends, Irish folklore, Irish fairy tales and More Irish Tales and Legends

Unclassified Tombs of Ireland

Among the many intact ancient tombs and constructions of Ireland, there are numerous which are difficult or impossible to place in a particular time or cultural context. This may be because they have been disrupted by the changing environment or human interference, they may have simply collapsed, or something else happened to obscure their origin. Here are a few examples of descriptions from surveyed unclassified tombs in Ireland:

"In the SE corner of a modern rectilinear pasture field, located on a W-facing slope of a natural rise in an area of gently undulating terrain. This unclassified megalithic tomb consists of a subrectangular cairn (12.6m E–W; 5.4m N–S; H 0.4-0.8m) of small and medium-sized stones, with a few larger stones also visible. A single upright slab (L 1.3m; T 0.4m), with long axis aligned N–S, protrudes from the W end of the cairn, rising 0.3m above the top of the cairn; this may be an in situ orthostat. The cairn is largely sod-covered; the E end is obscured by brambles and hawthorn bushes."

"Located on top of a small drumlin. OS Memoirs record that two enormous boulders forming a portion of a Giants grave, still represent the monument of the Bard. This may be the cromlech which was known locally as Fir Breaga – false men, and referred to by O'Donovan writing in the 1830s. The location was identified by Oliver Davies in the 1940s where a number of large stones were extant at the meeting point of three fields and where some large boulders are incorporated into the field boundaries."

"In pasture, with rock outcrop, SW of henge (MA117-042002-) and cairn (MA117-042001-). Megalithic tomb (L 6.8m N-S; Wth 2.8m); in poor condition. Two large stones have collapsed towards the interior, at S end. A slab (L 1.4m; H 0.84m), aligned E-W, stands to N. Just N of this is an area enclosed by two uprights, one on the E, and one on the W."

"On a gentle slope on the E side of the Black Water river valley. Named Large Grave on the OS manuscript fair plan and described in the OS Letters (1839) as being twelve feet (3.65m) long and four (1.2m) wide. It was originally enclosed by a fence (lines) of large standing stones, three of which remain on the north side about the middle, one on the south side and one at the east end. They vary from three (0.9m) to four (1.2m) feet in height, inclining very much inwards.

The account would appear to describe the remains of a ruined megalithic gallery. The monument appears to have been destroyed shortly after this description was written as it is not referred to in the mid-19th-century accounts of the monuments of this area."

"Marked Giants Grave on the 184 1-42 and 1939 OS maps. It is situated NE of a univallate rath (379). The Giants Grave was levelled about 7-8 years ago and survives only as a low oval mound which measures 11.9m N-S and 13m E-W."

"In rough-average pasture, located on a slight rise, overlooked to NE by a low ridge. Nephin Mountain looms to S, and the Nephin Beg range defines the horizon to SW. This possible megalithic tomb is not shown on the 1838 and 1922 OS 6-inch maps. It is evident as a grass-covered, sub-rectangular mound (16.4m NNE–SSW; 11.4m NNW–SSE; H 0.4-0.6m).

The sides of the mound are highest and well defined at NW, N and NE, but the S side has a low, poorly defined slump. A row of three close-set, upright stones of roughly similar dimensions (L 0.8-1.1 NNE–SSW; Wth 0.3-0.55; H 0.3-0.6m) protrudes from the NE side; the row mirrors the long axis of the mound. A single upright stone protrudes from the centre of the mound, 2.25m to SW of the row.

Heaps of loose stones and boulders, which are piled against the mound at various points along the E, NW and N sides, appear to be the result of relatively recent field clearance activites. A small portion (4m NE–SW; 2m NW–SE) of the SSE edge of the mound has been dug away."

Unknown Tomb Types in Ireland

If you'd like to leave a tip, just click here!

Archaeological information is licensed for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence from the National Monuments Service - Archaeological Survey of Ireland.

Note that this license DOES NOT EXTEND to folkloric, mythological and related information on the site. That data remains under full private copyright protection