Why did I even think it was a good idea to stop here at the end of a very long day and in the dark too!? I missed this tomb out on my first trip down to Waterford and could not see myself returning for a while.
So, I arrive here in the near dark and set off up the track to the little enclosure that surrounds the tomb. This is very overgrown and over shadowed by trees, making it very interesting at night.
The tomb, however, is relatively clear of weeds and such like and easy to view. The massive capstone rests on the portals (2.4m high) and the chamber walls. There is no door stone in place.
I will definitely have to come back when it's light because it is a very nice example of its genre.
I had to stop by again - last time I was here it was dark, so I wanted some better pictures.
The visit in the dark at least hid the incredible amount of concrete holding this beauty up. It's good that it has some support, but it could have been done a little more tastefully.
Sitting in front of the tomb with the 4m long capstone looming some 3.5m over you is quite an experience. The smallness of the glade that the tomb now stands in adds to the effect.
I was particularly taken by the backstone. This has a shoulder on both edges. One of these looks like a break in a fault in the rock and the other may have been created to balance it out. Just looking at this tomb you know that the builders had an eye for design.
The tomb faces east, away from the Monavullagh Mountains, which dominate the western horizon from the nearby track.
It's interesting to note that this site and Roscrea (County Tipperary) actually point at each other! There is a large hill bbetween the two sites, so there's no line of sight, but the alignment is unique amongst portal tombs .
I didn't know about this before, but the large, flat slab that can be seen just inside the gate is actually the capstone of a kist. If the tomb ever had a cairn then this would have probably been inset into it.
It was also very good to find that the enclosure had recently been attended to and the grass and bracken had been cut. It's great to be able to see the tomb properly. If you're in the area any time soon take advantage of it and stop by.
Two stones place either side of a gallery, opposite each other, but not touching so as to leave a gap, that are used to segment it into smaller chambers.
The large rock used to form the roof of a portal tomb or kist.
As we left Knockeen (County Waterford) the weather was still scorching hot, but the sun had disappeared behind some cloud. I had hoped that it would stay there while we were at Gaulstown so that the light wouldn't be so harsh. The overhanging trees make it very difficult to get a good picture in bright sunlight, because the contrast is too great.
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.