Coolnatullagh : Wedge Tomb

CountyClare
Grid RefM 310 031
GPSM 30961 03077 (3m)
Longitude9° 1' 48.73" W
Latitude53° 4' 25.97" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBallyvaghan (9.3 Km)
OS Sheet51
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Wednesday, 17th March 2010

This has to be the smallest wedge tomb in Clare, if not the country. In fact, it's almost a cist really.

The roofslab is no more than 2m x 1m. The wallslabs are no more than 50cm high. The wallslab on one side has slipped, giving the roof a bit of a slope. The wallslab on the opposite side has been damaged, allowing access to the tiny gallery . You can just trace out the edge of the small cairn that would have covered the structure.

The site is on a south-facing slope that overlooks a the road that runs up the valley. The angle of the capstone is towards the road, making it look larger and visible from below.

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

3D Anaglyph Images

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3D Animations

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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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