Ballyalton : Court Tomb

Grid RefJ 531 448
Longitude5° 38' 46.56" W
Latitude54° 19' 43.83" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownDownpatrick (4.4 Km)
OS Sheet21
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 2nd March 2002

Nestled in a dense thicket by the side of the road I doubt many people know that this tomb exists, which is a real shame because in its former glory it would have probably rivaled Clontygora (County Armagh).

The three or four chambers extend over 6m back, tapering all the way from the court which faces south east. There appear to be two door stones in situ. The views from the court, out over the Irish sea, would have been stunning.

The remains of the court are impressive but unfortunately buried in the undergrowth. When facing the tomb there are two mighty, pointed uprights 1.2m across and 1.6m tall. To the left there are at least three stones of similar shape and proportions.

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Tricky one to describe. From Downpatrick take the B1 south east and turn left after the hospital. Follow this road until you reach the fifth right hand junction where the joining road shoots away at an acute angle. Park up here and plunge into the thicket that is just before the junction on the right. The tomb is near the rear of this.

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Court 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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