I don't think I would have ever visited this site if I hadn't seen photos of it on another website. The OS map just says 'Tumulus', which to me is never that inspiring. Also north Tipperary isn't exactly renowned for great monuments. Well, that perception really needs to be changed! This site is terrific!
The Archaeological Inventory has it listed as a Linkardstown Kist. I don't know how this classification was arrived at but it's totally wrong. This is an undifferentiated passage tomb plain and simple.
The 5m long passage aligns to the northwest. The entrance is around 1.5m wide and as the passage goes towards the rear it widens to nearly 2.5m. Approximately 1.5m from the rear there is a small stone set against the southwest wall, which marks the point where the pseudo chamber starts.
Oddly the tomb is not in the centre of the mound, but is offset to one side. Is there another one in there?
The passage has no roof, but there is a massive pile of large stones on the opposite side of the cairn, which could have been the roof. To add to the wonder of this site there is a double bank and ditch surrounding the mound that reach as high as 2m in one spot.
I'll never again say that north Tipperary has nothing much to offer and I'll be certain to make the effort to check out some more stuff there.
Passage tombs are perhaps the most celebrated style of tombs, mainly due to the fantastic examples at Newgrange (County Meath), Knowth (County Meath) and Dowth (County Meath) in the Boyne Valley as well as those at Loughcrew (County Meath), which is by far the best place to experience these wonders.
The classical form of passage tomb is the cruciform style, where a long passage leads to a main chamber with 3 small chambers off, forming a cross when viewed from above. However, there are many other styles, some don't even have a passage! These other forms are with a round chamber (see Fourknocks (County Meath)), a polygonal chamber or in the form of a cross of Lorraine, which can be found at Seefin Hill (County Wicklow).
There is one form known as an undifferentiated passage tomb wherein the chamber is simply a broadening of the passage, such as at Matthewstown (County Waterford).
The passage and chamber was, once constructed, covered in a mound of earth or a stone cairn, which was in turn held in place with a kerb around its perimeter.
Perhaps what Irish passage tombs are most known for is the form of rock art more commonly called passage grave art, which can be seen in abundance along the Boyne Valley in the many cemeteries.
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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.