It's a very, very big climb to reach this cairn . It's a very, very big thrill to reach the summit of Knocknafallia and see this wonderful monument.
The cairn is 10m or so in diameter and around 2m high. The centre has been hollowed out slightly. The views are simply amazing. West, northwest and north lie the rest of the Knockmealdown Mountains. The east is dominated by the Comeragh and Monavullagh Mountains. The south is all sea, with Dungarvan Bay glistening in the sun.
There are several features of this cairn that, certainly when combined, make this a unique and special monument. The kerb is arranged so that every other stone is set radially, that is they don't follow the circumference of the cairn, but point outwards like spokes. On the west side of the cairn there is a 1m tall standing stone, which leans outwards. At the base of this there are many large lumps of quartz rock. On the opposite side, facing east, there is an open-fronted kist. This seems to point directly at the cairn at Crohaun (County Waterford).
Did I mention the views? Even if this site didn't have such incredible views, the cairn alone would be a must visit site for anyone without a heart condition - it really is a heavy duty climb to reach the top of Knocknafallia.
A cairn is a large pile of stones, quite often (but not always) containing a burial. Sometimes they have a kerb around the base.
Most cairns are hemi-spherical (like half a football), but the piles of stones used to cover wedge tombs, court tombs and portal tombs are also called cairns. When associated with these types of monument they are not always round, but sometimes rectangular or trapezoidal.
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).
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.