'Calliagh Berra's House' : Passage Tomb

TownlandSlieve Gullion
CountyArmagh
Grid RefJ 025 203
Longitude6° 25' 55.71" W
Latitude54° 7' 17.27" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownNewry (9 Km)
OS Sheet29
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 25th May 2003

I had intended this to be site 1000 on megalithomania, but alas it was not to be. That doesn't really matter though, because irrespective of when or why you come here, you will not be disappointed.

This has to be one of the finest locations on the planet. 570m above sea level, on top of the former holder of the title "Ireland's Most Sacred Mountain", the views are immense. You can see from the east coast to the west coast and from the north coast down to the Wicklow Mountains - That's nearly half of Ireland .... WOW!!!

The passage tomb is one of Ireland's wonders too. It is one of a kind - it is more Breton than Irish in its execution. The passage and chamber are made from drystone walling. The only three orthostats form a recess opposite the passage. In front of this alcove is a shallow basin stone.

Another peculiarity is that the massive kerb stones are layed flat rather than standing up, although most of these are covered by carin slippage.

The inside of the passage and chamber was particularly damp on my visit as it had been raining for quite a while that day. This gave the tomb an extra-special womb-like quality, making it uncomfortable yet cosey at the same time.

As the name suggests this is the home of the Hag - Callaigh Berra - the third aspect of the Celtic triple goddess. Further associations abound. To the north, at a hight of 500m is Callaigh Berra's Lough, a small lake on the top of the mountain, a very magical seeming place. The passage points in the direction of Loughcrew also known as Slieve na Callaigh.

If places of power do exist then this is a truly great one. I definitely left there feeling very different to when I arrived. I don't know if I left part of me with the Hag, took part of her away with me or we did a fair exchange, but something happened ... and it doesn't seem to have been a bad thing. I wonder if I bumped my Spiritual Bone.

Like this monument

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A Selection of Other Passage Tombs

About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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