Cunard : Stone Row or Alignment

CountyDublin
Grid RefO 119 199
GPSO 11885 11903 (7m)
Longitude6° 19' 39.41" W
Latitude53° 8' 45.28" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownTallaght (7.9 Km)
OS Sheet56
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Tuesday, 23rd May 2006

We stumbled across this possible three-stone row while returning from the nearby portal tomb . The three stones are all definitely stood on end and in a line, whereas the many stones around them are prostrate. Each is around 1.2m tall and pointed. The alignment is roughly southwest-northeast.

The row is on a fairly steep slope and at the southwest end of it there is a round platform that may be manmade. It was too dark to tell by the time we had found it.

Alignments or stone rows are groups of standing stones set in straight line. They can occur in any size group from two (usually refered to as a stone pair - see Boherboy (County Dublin)) to ten or more, although anything over four is exceptional (see Castlelanaght (County Cork)).

The function of these is a bit of a mystery, although many do seem to have significant astrological or geographical properties.

The stones making stone pairs often appear to be totally different in shape from each other, often hinting at a male and female partnership.

Portal tombs are what most people wrongly refer to as dolmens. They are, to me at least, the most strikingly designed of the megalithic tombs. They are called portal tombs because they have two large upright stones, usually very well matched, in front of the chamber that seem to form a doorway.

Resting upon the portal stones and the chamber a large capstone rests (sometimes there are two capstones - see Knockeen (County Waterford)), usually at an angle of around 22 degrees from the horizontal. Although these were originally incorporated into one end of a long cairn there are none left in this state today, although traces of the cairn can sometimes be seen upon the ground. The portal stones can be up to 3.5m tall, which combined with a thick capstone can produce an imposing monument over 5m tall. Capstones can reach in excess of 70 tonnes, with that of Browne's Hill (County Carlow) being estimated at over 120 tonnes.


Often betwen the portal stones there is a door slab, blocking the width of the entrance, but not always the full height. Door slabs are either half height, three quarter height or full height, describing the amount of the portal that they obstruct. All portal tombs would have had door slab, but this has often been removed to facilitate entry into the chamber.

Quite rarely the portal stones are the same height as the chamber and the characteristic slope of the capstone is created by the profile of the capstone (see Glendruid (County Dublin)).

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A Selection of Other Stone Rows or Alignments

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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