Caltragh : Court Tomb

Grid RefG 376 270
GPSG 37587 27009 (3m)
Longitude8° 57' 22.3" W
Latitude54° 11' 17.37" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownDromore West (8.6 Km)
OS Sheet24
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 19th June 2010

I entered the coordinates of this monument into my GPS at the roadside and looked towards where it was pointing me. I could see a very large boulder in the middle of the peat bog and assumed it was probably near to that. I didn't imagine that it WAS that!

The large boulder that you can see from the road is, in fact, the one remaining roofstone from this interesting monument. I have never seen such a large roofstone on a court tomb before. It is easily 1.5m thick.

The remains are sunk into the peat bog and a small hollow has been created to expose some of the orthostats . It is not certain if the whole structure is exposed, but you get the feeling that there's probably a lot more below the peat.

The gallery is aligned roughly east-west. The southern wall slab under the mighty roof stone has, unsurprisingly, collapsed inwards and leans at 45 degrees. There is a horizontal stone beneath the west end of the roofstone, presumably to act as a lintel to support the roofstone. On the west side there are several exposed stones that could represent the court.

Anyone visiting this monument should take care. You have to cross peat cuttings and there are many hidden pitfalls. In bad weather it could be very marshy. Also the edges of the hollow around the tomb are hidden, so take care when you are wondering around near to the monument.

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

Marked Sites

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Court Tombs

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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