Ticloy : Portal Tomb

CountyAntrim
Grid RefD 232 118
GPSD 23153 11773 (4m)
Longitude6° 4' 41.5" W
Latitude54° 56' 17.9" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownCarnlough (8.1 Km)
OS Sheet9
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 20th July 2003

Ugly and starting to collapse this tomb is made of large, rough, blocky stones. If ever a portal tomb needed a covering cairn , this is it. However, it is still worthy of a visit. The tomb is situated on a slope, now half hidden from the road below behind a field wall, with fantastic views to the south of that magical peak - Slemish.

One of the portal stones has collapsed into the chamber and the capstone has broken in two - the rear half of which is slipping into the chamber .

Noone should be put off visiting this place by its lack of good looks and charm. The accessibility (up a lane and across one field) makes it an ideal 'quick stop' site, where the tremendous views can be appreciated.

While you're there take a look at the single large stone set into the drystone wall by the nearest gate. It is the only large stone used in the surrounding walls. Did it come from the tomb? If it did then it is more likely to have been the doorstone than any other part of the structure.

Portal tombs are what most people wrongly refer to as dolmens. They are, to me at least, the most strikingly designed of the megalithic tombs. They are called portal tombs because they have two large upright stones, usually very well matched, in front of the chamber that seem to form a doorway.

Resting upon the portal stones and the chamber a large capstone rests (sometimes there are two capstones - see Knockeen (County Waterford)), usually at an angle of around 22 degrees from the horizontal. Although these were originally incorporated into one end of a long cairn there are none left in this state today, although traces of the cairn can sometimes be seen upon the ground. The portal stones can be up to 3.5m tall, which combined with a thick capstone can produce an imposing monument over 5m tall. Capstones can reach in excess of 70 tonnes, with that of Browne's Hill (County Carlow) being estimated at over 120 tonnes.


Often betwen the portal stones there is a door slab, blocking the width of the entrance, but not always the full height. Door slabs are either half height, three quarter height or full height, describing the amount of the portal that they obstruct. All portal tombs would have had door slab, but this has often been removed to facilitate entry into the chamber.

Quite rarely the portal stones are the same height as the chamber and the characteristic slope of the capstone is created by the profile of the capstone (see Glendruid (County Dublin)).

A cairn is a large pile of stones, quite often (but not always) containing a burial. Sometimes they have a kerb around the base.

Most cairns are hemi-spherical (like half a football), but the piles of stones used to cover wedge tombs, court tombs and portal tombs are also called cairns. When associated with these types of monument they are not always round, but sometimes rectangular or trapezoidal.

A compartment in a tomb in which burials were placed. In court tombs and wedge tombs a chamber is a sub-division of the burial gallery. Portal tombs have single chambers and passage tombs can have anything from one to five chambers, although usually passage tombs are considered to have a main chamber with extra subsidary chambers.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 27th January 2008

I was in the area so I decided to take another look at this rather ugly portal tomb . Is it as ugly as I remember it to be from first impressions? Yes, it is. However, the views are amazing. Slemish sits on the far horizon and beckons you to go and climb it - not that I'm falling for that ploy!

The structure is quite good, too. I know there's a portal stone missing and the roofstone has cracked, but everything else is there. If the stone were a bit more elegant then this would be amongst the great portal tombs of Ireland.

Portal tombs are what most people wrongly refer to as dolmens. They are, to me at least, the most strikingly designed of the megalithic tombs. They are called portal tombs because they have two large upright stones, usually very well matched, in front of the chamber that seem to form a doorway.

Resting upon the portal stones and the chamber a large capstone rests (sometimes there are two capstones - see Knockeen (County Waterford)), usually at an angle of around 22 degrees from the horizontal. Although these were originally incorporated into one end of a long cairn there are none left in this state today, although traces of the cairn can sometimes be seen upon the ground. The portal stones can be up to 3.5m tall, which combined with a thick capstone can produce an imposing monument over 5m tall. Capstones can reach in excess of 70 tonnes, with that of Browne's Hill (County Carlow) being estimated at over 120 tonnes.


Often betwen the portal stones there is a door slab, blocking the width of the entrance, but not always the full height. Door slabs are either half height, three quarter height or full height, describing the amount of the portal that they obstruct. All portal tombs would have had door slab, but this has often been removed to facilitate entry into the chamber.

Quite rarely the portal stones are the same height as the chamber and the characteristic slope of the capstone is created by the profile of the capstone (see Glendruid (County Dublin)).

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Portal 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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