'Seefin Hill' : Passage Tomb

Townland5 km East of Kilbride
CountyWicklow
Grid RefO 073 163
GPSO 07347 16273 (8m)
Longitude6° 23' 38.22" W
Latitude53° 11' 9.96" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBlessington (9.7 Km)
OS Sheet56
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
Hide map  (N.B. Google Maps & GPS readings are slightly out of sync - position is approximate)
Show inline map (by Google Maps)

Visit Notes

Sunday, 2nd September 2001

Vaginal rebirth at its finest. I never thought I'd get to the top of the 625m high Seefin Hill, as the cloud engulfed me for the last 100m (vertical) I was beginning to contemplate returning to my car and going home. Nevertheless I continued and I am so glad I did. The last part of the climb is through rough terrain, a peat bog littered with huge granite boulders. There is no shortage of building material here. The floor is also strewn with quartz, this is why they built here. Finally I made it to the top and as I did the wind just blew enough to reveal the cairn through the mist. I was awe struck.

My approach brought me up on the rear, so I skirted the kerb stones looking for the entrance. Even though I had seen pictures of the entrance nothing could have prepared me for this. The cairn stones have been stripped away to reveal the labia like door pillars and clitoral lintel . Climbing over the entrance stone and peering down the narrow passage you can see that the inner chamber has been breached from above, allowing light to spill in. Unfortunately, most of the fantastic corbelled roof lies on the floor to the chamber. Two small anti-chambers are still visible, if there is a third, fourth and fifth they are now buried. I could find no trace of the carved orthostat described on other web sites. None of the kerb stones are decorated either. The stones that make up the corbelled roof appear to be mainly huge slabs of quartz.

Littered amongst the cairn stones are many pieces of quartz, hardly surprising when there is such an abundance on the hill side below. I can't help imagining that the whole cairn was once covered in quartz to produce a stunning white mound that would have glittered in the sun and been visible for miles. As I left the tomb I noticed that the passage orthostats were once covered in a thin layer of quartz, again signifying the power that the "Sun Stone" had to these people. The passage is aligned due north.

The feeling of rebirth when exiting is overwhelming. Leaving the womb like chamber, moving along the vaginal passage and squeezing between the huge 'labial' door stones the clouds cleared allowing the sun to break through and all my tiredness from the long climb seemed to be lifted from me, a feeling which made the descent very pleasurable. This place is a must to see and experience. You will definitely leave with more than you went. (Part of this in my case was a plastic Evian bottle that someone had left in the passage!! When will these people learn?)

A kerb is a ring of stones placed around the perimeter of a burial mound or cairn. It basically serves the purpose of a retaining wall to keep the cairn or earth in place. Kerbs are usually associated with passage tombs, but do occur on court tombs and wedge tombs too.

Sometimes on passage tombs the stones can bear decoration, such as at Newgrange (County Meath).

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 stone laid flat across an opening or passage to form a roof. This can apply to the roof of a souterrain or the top of a door or window.

A large stone stood upright to form the wall of a passage or chamber, usually in a passage tomb, but can also refer to the walls of any tomb.

Monday, 3rd May 2004

So, back at last. This re-visit has been on the cards for ages and I can't believe that it's been over 2 years since I was here last. Would it still have the same effect upon me?

As I climbed up I could feel myself getting anxious. I wanted so much to get there again. I wanted so much not to be carrying 20kg of camera equipment up a 621m high mountain! The way the tomb is situated you really can not see it all the way up. It is not until you reach the summit that you can see it. At this point I filled with a burst of energy and trotted over (not that much energy) to the tomb, saying hello to a couple having lunch on the kerb on the south side.

As soon as I saw the narrow, welcoming entrance I was filled with joy and soon the passage was filled with me as I clambered inside. One of the reasons I have been wanting to get back here was to find the rock art inside the passage. I managed to locate one of the carved orthostats , the third on the right as you enter (I think), which has some concentric lozenges near its base.

After my initial plunge inside I wandered around the outside taking in the tremendous views, always looking back at the cairn to make sure it hadn't gone anywhere. At one point I was forced back inside by a sudden hail storm, which was fine by me.

One of the side chambers may have been cleaned out a little bit. It certainly looked a bit more empty than I remembered it. It is such a shame that this one can not be rebuilt and put back how it once was. It is one of the few north facing passage tombs and, I think, the only one with 5 chambers in a cross of Lorraine configuration.

The views are as good as you get. It's amazing to look down upon the Pullaphuca Reservoir 450m below or across to Seahan Hill (County Dublin) and its passage tomb (the passage of this one points directly at Seahan) or up towards Seafingan or over to Lugnagun (County Wicklow) where I was last week.

Did it still have the same effect upon me? Oh yes!!!

A kerb is a ring of stones placed around the perimeter of a burial mound or cairn. It basically serves the purpose of a retaining wall to keep the cairn or earth in place. Kerbs are usually associated with passage tombs, but do occur on court tombs and wedge tombs too.

Sometimes on passage tombs the stones can bear decoration, such as at Newgrange (County Meath).

A barrow is essentially a mound of earth over one or more burials. They are more usually to be dated to the Bronze Age. There are many forms of barrow including ring, bowl, long and bell barrows.

Ring barrows are formed by digging a circular trench or fosse around a central burial, with no mound.

Bowl barrows are formed by heaping up soil over the burial(s) from a surrounding fosse, these often have an external bank too (see Ballyremon Commons (County Wicklow)).

Bell barows are simply round mounds with no fosse or external bank.

Long barrows are rare in Ireland and are more common in southwest England. Their shape is basically ovoid rather than round (see Ballynoe (County Down))

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.

Sunday, 6th December 2009

Most people head for Seefingan (County Wicklow) from here, but today I did Seefingan first. The walk between the two is a simple one, even if it is a bit wet in the saddle between the two peaks. I decided to do them in this order because Seefingan is higher and gave me the feeling that it was all down hill after I'd been to Seefingan.

I spent most of my time here trying to get some good photos of the art in the passage, but didn't do too well. The weather was superb, though, I had the pleasure of taking in these views again.

Like this monument

Marked Sites

Site Plans

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

<a href='/show/image/4567/seefin_hill.htm' class='redlink'>Permanent Link</a>_

Directions

Follow the N81 from Dublin and turn left to Kilbride on the R759 and follow the signs to Sally Gap. Turn left at the next cross roads and then take the first right and drive to the t-junction by a bridge. Park Here. Walk along the road to the right and then decide where you want to start walking up the hill. Just keep walking up!

Random Gazetteer

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.

Valid CSS Valid HTML
Page loaded from cache: (Generation time: August 16 2017 07:45:40.)
Top of page | Feedback | About this site
© Copyright Tom FourWinds 2001-2017