I was thinking about heading onto Valencia Island, but it was getting rather late. After checking the OS map I noticed that I was close to this Early Christian Settlement, so I turned off and took a look.
At first site from the road it seemed as if there was nothing here except for a low pile of stones and some ancient grave markers. When I walked onto the raised, round surface I noticed a couple of slabs standing up in the centre of the platform. This turned out to be a tomb shrine, a wonderful little tomb shrine.
It is made from two undecorated slabs that lean together to form a little tent. The stones forming the ends have been broken, allowing access inside. Within the shrine there are many lumps of quartz and some scallop shells. Seeing the latter brought a smile to my face after my recent visit to Santiago, where the sign of the pilgrim is the shell. These have obviously been left inside the shrine a long time ago by pilgrims to the site.
The shrine itself stands in a rectangular area defined by small slabs set on edge. The interior of this area seems to be paved with thin slabs that form a low dias for the shrine to stand on. The site is totally unprotected from the cattle (including a very big bull I only noticed as I left, but was watching me intenty), but its gravestone-strewn surface probably puts them off walking across it.
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.