Ardloy : Passage Tomb

Grid RefG 737 166
Longitude8° 24' 7.36" W
Latitude54° 5' 51.93" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBallymote (7.6 Km)
OS Sheet25
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Tuesday, 30th December 2008

This ruined tomb is situated on a rise just above the N4 a couple of kilometers north of Castlebaldwin and is accessed from the farm just to the north of the site. The farmer was very gracious and had no problem with allowing me to visit the site. His reaction indicated that he gets visitors, but I can't find much mention of this site on the internet.

The remains of the passage tomb stand on a 1m high round platform, which has two other platform enclosures on either side of it. The other two have banks around their edges. There are large set stones in each one, so they too may have been passage tombs at some time.

Of the monument itself, there are several upright orthostats mainly on the south side of what would have been the short passage and chamber. A group of three stones appear to be a side chamber, indicating that this was probably cruciform in plan. Against these uprights rest several large stones that must be the roofstones. The orientation of the passage was probably to the northwest, but it's impossible to to be sure.

The views to the east are blocked by a high hedge, but the views in the opposite direction are open. Here you can see Kesh to the west and Carrowkeel to the southwest. The cairn on top of Kesh is clearly visible in the same way that Knocknarea is visible from Carrowmore.

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.

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))

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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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