Kiltiernan Domain : Portal Tomb

Grid RefO 198 224
GPSO 19753 22412 (11m)
Longitude6° 12' 22.08" W
Latitude53° 14' 18.94" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBray (7.4 Km)
OS Sheet50
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 29th September 2001

Some reports say this cromlech appears to look like a sphinx waiting to pounce and I can see what they mean. The style is very similar to the dolmen at Cabinteely (Glendruid) just down the road with a large wedge shaped (both in plan and cross section) capstone. The chamber, though, is at least twice as big as that at Cabinteely.

There is some very poor restoration in the form of a single, square sectioned, concrete pillar supposedly providing extra support at the back where the capstone has displaced its original supports.

The presence of this dolmen peering over the top of the gorse is quite dramatic when you approch, even if it does make it difficult to see as a whole structure as a whole item.

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Sunday, 17th February 2002

The day was not looking anywhere near megalithic enough and so I decided to pop back to the Kiltiernan dolmen to see what this time of year brought to it.

The gorse bushes are in full flower creating a sea of yellow around this strange monument. It is still no easier to photograph.

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Thursday, 11th April 2002

Getting to this one was fun today. We were stared down by a very long-horned bull. Eventually we managed to get the courage to pass by and reach the waiting Sphinx.

Wednesday, 1st May 2002

The size of this brute never ceases to amaze people when I take them to it. Scott, like most people, couldn't help wondering how they managed to get that capstone 2m into the air.

Friday, 27th September 2002

I am so happy that I returned here today, because the farmer has wonderfully cleared out the gorse bushes from in front of the tomb. If you want to see this properly - GO NOW!! It is amazing to see it so clearly.

Its relationship to Glendruid (County Dublin) is further supported by the evidence of a probable court to the front of the portal, in the form of a line of stones normally hidden by the bushes.

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Saturday, 7th December 2002

The gorse is still low around the tomb at the moment, allowing the visitor to get a very clear impression of this tombs majesty and presence.

Tuesday, 13th July 2004

The gorse that was cleared away from the site 18 months ago has obviously started to grow back, but it's not as bad as it was when I first visited this site. The farm track that leads down to it (with the letterbox bearing the name "F. Brady" on the gate) looks as if it's not been used for quite some time except by earthmovers. Some tracks shoot off into the trees on the way to the tomb, but I was here to see this beauty, not investigate big tyre tracks.

The field that the tomb stands on the edge of is very overgrown too and doesn't appear to have been grazed this year. I hope that all this doesn't add up to some new development with locked gates ...

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Wednesday, 5th October 2005

The reason for this visit was twofold. Primarily it was to check out approaching the tomb via the public right of way, which is currently under threat of being revoked. The other motive was to bring my wife to see this magnificent monument. Sadly the right of way is so overgrown that it is impassable, so we walked up my normal route along the farm track.

The gorse is now very tall again and hides the tomb from you as you enter the field. This does add to the suspense I suppose, but the area immediately around the tomb does need to be kept clear so that people can enjoy visiting and get a good look at the whole structure in all its glory. Once we have the right of way decided upon (there are four under consideration) and we have at least a finger post pointing the way to the tomb, perhaps we can manage to get the site cleared.

While hear this time I took the opportunity to look around a bit more than I have done before and noticed an amazing thing. Looking south over the tomb you can see through the Scalp Pass and in the pass you can just see the peak of the Little Sugarloaf Mountain! Wow ... what a great piece of location choosing by the builders. This goes some way to explaining the choice of building it here.

I have often wondered why this tomb was built facing west in such an odd spot - most portal tombs face east. After giving this alignment some thought I came to realise that if you were to stand on the top of the bank above the tomb then you would get a very good view of the mountain peak, which means that there could be a very significant ritual centre up there just waiying to be discovered! It would be quite amazing if this tomb, with the second largest capstone in Ireland, was just a small part of a bigger complex!

Monday, 16th April 2007

What a dramatic change! The gorse bushes around the tomb have been cleared and it looks great. When the dead branches are removed it will look even better. Whoever has done this work ... Thank You!

You can now properly see the line of boulders that stretch out from the north portal stone like a faux court. You can also the huge rock outcrop to the rear of the tomb. Standing on this outcrop you can look south through the Scalp Pass and see the tip of The Great Sugarloaf Mountain. Wonderful!

I have never properly seen this monument from the north side due to the gorse bushes that have surrounded it on every visit until now. It isn't as pretty from this side (let's face it it ain't a particularly pretty monument anyway), but it's really good to at least have the chance to see it from this direction.

Now is definitely a good time to visit this site, but watch out for bulls in the fields.

Like this monument

Marked Sites

Old Images

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<a href='/show/image/6501/kiltiernan_domain.htm' class='redlink'>Permanent Link</a>_


From the N11 take the R116 through Kiltiernan. There is a sharp left hand bend with a cul-de-sac continuing straight ahead. Take this road. Turn left just before the ruined church and follow the road around (it bends sharp right twice and then sharp left) until you come to a farm track on the right (50m or so after the left bend). Park here by the new gates and just walk around the track, through one gate and past a yellow wall. At the end of the yellow wall go left for 20m and look to the right. The dolmen is set on the side of the hill, protruding through the gorse.

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Portal Tombs

External Links

The Parish of Kiltiernan

Details of the Parish Of Kilkullen from The Ball List. A history of Dublin written at the end of the 18th century and publish in 1906.
Click here to visit this site

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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