Slieve Dargan : Passage Tomb

CountySligo
Grid RefG 704 296
GPSG 70425 29582 (3m)
Longitude8° 27' 12.17" W
Latitude54° 12' 51.19" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBallysadare (3.6 Km)
OS Sheet25
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Tuesday, 30th December 2008

I feel so privilaged to have made the climb to see this monument. I knew nothing about it before I set off and when I saw the terrain between the track and the base of the hill, and then saw the hill I had to climb to reach it I nearly didn't bother. As you may guess from my first comment, the climb is not too big a price to pay for experiencing this monument and its wonderful location. However, the climb and crosscountry scramble was almost too much for me, so only attempt this one if you're fit and confident about crossing rough boggy ground.

This monument is not on the highest peak of Slieve Dargan, but on a lower peak to the west. Slieve Dargan blocks the views to the east/northeast, but the views to the south, west and north are extensive.

You do not actually see this tomb until you are almost on top of it, because it is built on a flat-topped rocky outcrop. The main structure is in very good condition and is set into a spread of cairn material about 15m in diameter. This can't be as deep as the chamber is, though, so the tomb must be rock-cut.

All the roofstones are present, although some have been shifted to one side, allowing access into the chamber. The 3m long passage is full of cairn material and is separated from the chamber area by a single jamb on the south side of the passage. Three large stones form the 1m wide x 1.5m long chamber. Upon these rest layers of huge corbel stones which in turn support the roof. It is almost possible for me to stand up straight within the chamber and I'm over 6 foot tall.

The alignment of the passage is such that it would have opened slightly south of southwest. The end of the passage is set well back from the edge of the cairn material and appears to have been deliberately blocked off, so it's doubtful that continued access was a design feature.

What strikes me as odd is that the cairn does not cover the wonderful structure. Who would have come all the way up here to rob away the stone? The same thought occurred to me at Croaghaun Mountain (County Sligo) a few weeks ago. Were these ever fully covered by a cairn?

Like this monument

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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.

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