Boulder burials are very simple, yet striking monuments. As the name suggest they are simply burials beneath a large boulder. The burials contained within are mainly single and set in a small kist like chamber made from smaller stones (see Reanacaheragh (County Cork).
Boulder burials can be found on their own or within or around stone circles. The boulders often bear cup marks and were often picked for their curiously attractive shape or rock patterns.
There are two kinds of burial chamber that are refered to as cists or kists. Kist is usually used to refer to a megalithic structure and cist used for later Bronze Age burials.
Cists are small slab lined boxes, set into the ground, with a single slab used as a cover. They tend to be no larger than 1.5m square. Although cists are found in dedicated mounds or cairns they are often later insertions into megalithic cairns (see Kilmashogue (County Dublin)).
Kists are much bigger structures and usually built above ground level (see Dolmen of the Four Maols (County Mayo))and covered by a cairn. They are usually rectangular in plan with vertical sides, but one type, known as a Linkardstown Kist is pentagonal with sloping side stones (see Cloghtogle (County Fermanagh)).