Muckduff Upper : Cairn

CountyWicklow
Grid RefS 956 890
GPSS 95623 88993 (8m)
Longitude6° 34' 38.62" W
Latitude52° 56' 35.73" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownKiltegan (4.8 Km)
OS Sheet62
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 15th October 2006

There really isn't a lot of this cairn left. Much of it seems to have been used to build a small length of wall around one side of it in a similar fashion to the passage tomb on Baltinglass Hill (County Wicklow). This wall was very welcome both on the way up and down Keadeen as the wind was very violent.

What does remain of the cairn is on the east side of the wall and comprises of a scatter of large stones that may have been either kerbstones or orthostats from its passage and chamber. At the west end of this jumble three stones look as though they could be in situ and be part of the passage structure.

From the cairn's location, which is in a saddle, the views are stunning to the east and west. To the west you can look down on the woods that surround Boleycarrigeen (County Wicklow) and look beyond them to the cairns on the top of Boleycarrigeen Hill. To the northwest you can look down on the amazing hill fort on Spinans Hill - Brusselstown Ring (County Wicklow).

Passage tombs are perhaps the most celebrated style of tombs, mainly due to the fantastic examples at Newgrange (County Meath), Knowth (County Meath) and Dowth (County Meath) in the Boyne Valley as well as those at Loughcrew (County Meath), which is by far the best place to experience these wonders.

The classical form of passage tomb is the cruciform style, where a long passage leads to a main chamber with 3 small chambers off, forming a cross when viewed from above. However, there are many other styles, some don't even have a passage! These other forms are with a round chamber (see Fourknocks (County Meath)), a polygonal chamber or in the form of a cross of Lorraine, which can be found at Seefin Hill (County Wicklow).

There is one form known as an undifferentiated passage tomb wherein the chamber is simply a broadening of the passage, such as at Matthewstown (County Waterford).

The passage and chamber was, once constructed, covered in a mound of earth or a stone cairn, which was in turn held in place with a kerb around its perimeter.

Perhaps what Irish passage tombs are most known for is the form of rock art more commonly called passage grave art, which can be seen in abundance along the Boyne Valley in the many cemeteries.

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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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