Coolbeg : Wedge Tomb

Grid RefG 673 424
Longitude8° 30' 9.67" W
Latitude54° 19' 45.09" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownSligo (6.6 Km)
OS Sheet16
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 17th August 2003

This is a lovely riverside wedge tomb , which sadly has its views of the river blocked by a wall of large trees. Its gallery is 7m long with good, but not complete, double walling along both sides. One roofstone is roughly in place at rear and may have cup marks on its upper surface.

At the front of the tomb some of the facade stones are present and a fallen lintel/roofstone blocks the entrance.

The middle 1/3 of the gallery filled with rubble and some of the covering cairn remains on the north side to the height of the side stones.

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.

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Monday, 25th April 2011

You know, I'd been saying to Tatjana that I'd never been here, and when I got here with her I didn't recognize it at all. Looking at my old pictures I can see why! It was so overgrown 8 years ago when I first visited.

This time the site was very clear. The exquisite double walling down the north side was fully visible. It was easy to make out all the side stones, the façade and the portico. This is a wonderful monument and better access ought to be available!

Like this monument

Marked Sites

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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