'Rathnadarve' : Barrow

Grid RefM 795 836
GPSM 79457 83649 (3m)
Longitude8° 18' 42.57" W
Latitude53° 48' 7.03" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownElphin (9.4 Km)
OS Sheet33
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 24th July 2010

This was monument 6 of the Megalithomania 2010 Meet-Up and what an incredible site it is!

When someone says 'barrow' to me I automatically think of a small mound with a ditch around it that will be hard to find. If you were to think that here you couldn't be further from the truth! This barrow is 85m in diameter! To put that into perspective, you could almost fit the whole of the Newgrange (County Meath) mound inside it!

There is no parking here, but there is access. Don't do what some of us did and climb the fence by the signpost: go a little further down the road to the gate.

The bank around the monument is massive, standing over 2m above the ground around it. Around the outside of this is a large ditch that has silted up in most places - there is a pond in one section. The road has actually cut off part of the ditch. The rest of the ditch is over 3m wide and full of rushes, so be careful if you decide to try and cross it. A ditch that wide would have been very deep when first cut. The inside edge of the bank drops 1m or so to the inner area. The ground inside rises gently to a mound at the centre that is higher than the top of the bank.

The roadside sign calls this place Cruachain Connaght, giving its Irish name - Rath na dTarbh below. Rath na dTarbh, or Rathnadarve, means Fort of the Bulls and this site, like all the many monuments around it, is part of the Tain Bo Cuailnge, the tail of the cattle raid by Queen Maeve. This site is where the two bulls, Donn Cuailnge and Finn Bennach, fought here with Donn Cuailnge eventually winning. It's easy to imagine this as a bull ring, but I wouldn't have wanted to be sitting around the edge as these two bulls fought to the death!

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Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Barrows

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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