Lisduff : Wedge Tomb

CountyGalway
Grid RefM 402 686
GPSM 40168 68614 (5m)
Longitude8° 54' 18.84" W
Latitude53° 39' 49.82" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBallinine (3.5 Km)
OS Sheet39
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 27th March 2005

With a bit of care this wedge tomb would be a very nice example. The walls of the 5m long gallery are intact and a few roof slabs lie about, but the gallery is filled in with cairn material.

Just in front of the southwest facing entrance are two large blocks of concrete, the function of which I couldn't decide upon. Some of the outer walling is also present.

One of the roof slabs seems to have been incorporated in the bank of the rath in the same field.

Wedge tombs are most easily catagorised by their main characteristic - they are taller and wider at the entrance than they are at the rear. Like court tombs they have a gallery which is split either by septal slabs or sill stones into smaller chambers. Galleries can be anything up to 8m in length.

The side walls are, uniquely, made of two rows of stones (three in some cases), which is refered to as double or triple walling. This double walling is perhaps the best feature to identify a wedge tomb by.

The roofs are constructed by laying large blocks or slabs across the gallery, resting on the tops of the walls.

They are often quite small, an amazing exception being Labbacallee (County Cork), one of the largest in Ireland. It is very rare to find a wedge tomb with its roof still in situ, although, occasionally, one or two of the roof slabs are present (see Proleek (County Louth)).

In some examples the roof would have extended beyond the front closing slab forming a portico at the front, which in a few specimens was split by a vertical stone place centrally in the entrance.

Like court tombs, portal tombs and passage tombs they were covered by a cairn, which, at many sites, it is still often possible to determine. A few, such as Burren SW (County Cavan), still retain a large proportion of the cairn.

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.

Ringforts are small (usually) circular enclosures formed by digging one or more fosses and piling the extracted earth to form a bank inside the ditch(es). Each structure would have been the homestead of just one family.

The size and number of banks area good indication of the status of the former inhabitants when compared with other local sites.

Most of them date from the late Bronze Age or the early Christian period.

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Like this monument

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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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