Cross : Passage Tomb

Grid RefD 171 431
GPSD 17124 43073 (5m)
Longitude6° 9' 33.69" W
Latitude55° 13' 14.87" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownCushendun (13 Km)
OS Sheet5
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 25th February 2007

The walk to this clifftop site is a soggy one. Scattered across the very wet gotund on top of the hill there are many, many boulders and exposed rocky outcrops, which makes finding this small tomb quite tricky. Once found, though, it's quite a delight.

A small northward facing passage, about 1m long, leads into an oval or pear shaped chamber . The chamber is just over 1m wide and 1.5m deep. It is also half filled with rubble. The passage was probably a little bit longer originally - there are a couple of slightly displaced stones just in front of it that look as if they match the orthostats that form the passage walls. Interestingly, the passage itself points directly at the eastern-most point of Rathlin Island. A large slab to the west of the passage is probably a roofstone from the chamber.

There is some cairn material left and a section of kerb remains in front of the entrance. I doubt that there was ever a kerb on the east and southeast sides, though. Here the edge of the monument is defined by an outcrop of bedrock that forms a 1m tall ledge.

As with all coastal sites the views are wonderful. Rathlin Island to the north, Ballycastle beach to the west and beyond that Larry Bane Head and Sheep Island, just below Lannimore Hill on the far side of which you can find the passage tombs at The Druid Stone (County Antrim), Clenagh and Lennagh. To the southeast you can see West Torr.

A compartment in a tomb in which burials were placed. In court tombs and wedge tombs a chamber is a sub-division of the burial gallery. Portal tombs have single chambers and passage tombs can have anything from one to five chambers, although usually passage tombs are considered to have a main chamber with extra subsidary chambers.

A barrow is essentially a mound of earth over one or more burials. They are more usually to be dated to the Bronze Age. There are many forms of barrow including ring, bowl, long and bell barrows.

Ring barrows are formed by digging a circular trench or fosse around a central burial, with no mound.

Bowl barrows are formed by heaping up soil over the burial(s) from a surrounding fosse, these often have an external bank too (see Ballyremon Commons (County Wicklow)).

Bell barows are simply round mounds with no fosse or external bank.

Long barrows are rare in Ireland and are more common in southwest England. Their shape is basically ovoid rather than round (see Ballynoe (County Down))

A kerb is a ring of stones placed around the perimeter of a burial mound or cairn. It basically serves the purpose of a retaining wall to keep the cairn or earth in place. Kerbs are usually associated with passage tombs, but do occur on court tombs and wedge tombs too.

Sometimes on passage tombs the stones can bear decoration, such as at Newgrange (County Meath).

Like this monument

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A Selection of Other Passage 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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