Tamnyrankin : Court Tomb

Grid RefC 834 103
GPSC 83390 10289 (3m)
Longitude6° 41' 56.06" W
Latitude54° 55' 59.53" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownSwatragh (3.5 Km)
OS Sheet8
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 1st December 2002

What an appalling day it turned out to be! Not the sites, but the weather - and we really suffered badly here! If you come to this site (and you really should if you are anywhere nearby) then take notes.

The OS maps show two roads that come close to the tomb, one to the south and one to the west. The west road looks like the best one to take because it has a farm at the end where you can park and head across the fields to it. The south one appears to stop short at a dead end. So we parked at the farm and crossed the squelching fields in the driving rain and got thoroughly soaked! When we arrived at the monument the first thing we saw was that the southern road actually leads right up to the tomb! When we drove back past this road we saw the sign to the tomb, which is placed behind a tree when you approach from the main road .... super!

Anyway .. the tomb. The courtyard is one of the most impressive that I have ever been to. It is almost square not curved like most, creating a very tight (yet expansive) ritual area. The stones that form this are monsters.

The gallery is quite short and consists of just 2 chambers separated by a low sill stone. These were filled with water to a depth of 30cm or so.

Around the back of the gorse covered cairn there is a subsidary chamber that actually goes right across the whole width of the cairn, forming a corridor.

Many other drumlins and mounds surround this tomb and I wouldn't be surprised if some of them also covered other tombs.

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Sunday, 18th October 2009

Another appalling day! Seven years apart and I get another appalling day to visit this monument. One thing was different this time, though. The gorse that smothered the top of the cairn at the time of my last visit has nearly all been cleared - just a few small gorse bushes remain. This meant that I could walk across the top and get a good look down into the gallery this time. Unfortunately, the backmost of the two chambers was full of thick brambles.

The gallery is very short with just two chambers, each 2m long at most. It is entered through fine entrance jambs and a wonderful court made of tall stones placed very tightly together. The entrance jambs are not well-matched as is often the case. They have a very different shape from each other.

The subsidiary chamber at the rear is a puzzler. Why does it go right through the cairn? I don't know of another that does this.

The kerb is in excellent condition down both sides. To the rear of the monument there is a low wall curving out from the kerb. This is probably a later addition to the structure to create a corral around the rear chamber.

This time I sensibly approached via the lane leading to the site. This track is surprisingly long, so keep on driving until you reach a dead end by the tomb.

Like this monument

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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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