Caherlehillan : Wedge Tomb

CountyKerry
Grid RefV 574 839
GPSV 57389 83939 (3m)
Longitude10° 4' 34.8" W
Latitude51° 59' 21.5" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownCahershiveen (11.3 Km)
OS Sheet83
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Monday, 10th August 2009

It is probably best to visit this site in the winter when the reeds that cover the top of the ridge have died down. Even with the high reeds around it, this is a nice wedge tomb .

Two roofstones cover a 3m long gallery . There is a level-topped backstone in situ at the east end of the monument. The central axis is align east-west along the linbe of the ridge that the sites sits atop.

Two slabs form each wall. Between these slabs there are smaller slabs that look as though they were placed to block the gap between them. It is not possible to say if these are original features. In front of the entrance to the gallery there are some other upright slabs that may mean the gallery was once longer.

I must mention the farmer here. He was so welcoming and helpful. He even came after us in his car to redirect us when he saw that we were well off track. Many thanks!

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.

Like this monument

Marked Sites

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Wedge 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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