Shrough : Passage Tomb

CountyTipperary
Grid RefR 842 306
GPSR 84217 30587 (3m)
Longitude8° 13' 55.37" W
Latitude52° 25' 35.92" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownGalbally (5.3 Km)
OS Sheet66
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 27th December 2008

Although this lovely passage tomb is on top of a hill it is fairly easy to reach, because the Ballyhoura Way goes right past it. It is possibly the only hilltop passage tomb with its own picnic table!

The remains of the chamber are set off-centre in the remains of a wide cairn that rises about 1m high. There is an OS trig point on the east edge of the cairn. Some possible kerb stones can be seen to the south of the chamber.

The chamber itself is very simple and formed with two orthostats on each side defining an area 3m x 1.5m. The alignment of the structure is roughly east-west. The east end is open, while the west end is blocked by a half-height orthostat.

From this fantastic location the views are amazing. To the south lies the Glen of Aherlow and the Galtee Mountains beyond. To the north are the fertile plains of Limerick. The walk up to this site might be rather boring and the monument rather diminutive, but the views and the cuteness of this roofless chamber are a good reward for the effort. If you combine this monument with a visit to Corderry (County Tipperary) then you're in for a treat.

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.

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))

Like this monument

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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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