Wateresk : Portal Tomb

Grid RefJ 394 344
GPSJ 39368 34409 (5m)
Longitude5° 51' 43.37" W
Latitude54° 14' 22.13" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownDundrum (2.3 Km)
OS Sheet29
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 2nd March 2002

One of the charms of this dolmen is that it does not look the like same structure from any two angles.

The large capstone rests at one end on a mighty stone in a beautiful shoulder which could well be man made.

The portal stones and door stone are still in place but no walls remain. The capstone is ove 1m thick and its under side is around 1.3m off the ground.

Easily seen from the road this tomb has a certain charm that can not help but endear the viewer to it. The farmer was ploughing the field while I was there and after a few hand gestures to him I was quickly given the thumbs up to jump the fence and get up close. I suggest anyone visiting here looks upon it from all angles just to marvel at its ability to seemingly morph into some thing different as you walk around it.

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Sunday, 9th January 2005

Another site that I always think of when someone says 'dolmen' or 'portal tomb'. Although by no means a classically shaped portal tomb this is still a very fine example and so picturesque too.

There's something odd about its form and the selection of odd types of stone used in its construction that feels really good. Even on a wet and windy day it's a pleasure to be here at this monument.

Portal tombs are what most people wrongly refer to as dolmens. They are, to me at least, the most strikingly designed of the megalithic tombs. They are called portal tombs because they have two large upright stones, usually very well matched, in front of the chamber that seem to form a doorway.

Resting upon the portal stones and the chamber a large capstone rests (sometimes there are two capstones - see Knockeen (County Waterford)), usually at an angle of around 22 degrees from the horizontal. Although these were originally incorporated into one end of a long cairn there are none left in this state today, although traces of the cairn can sometimes be seen upon the ground. The portal stones can be up to 3.5m tall, which combined with a thick capstone can produce an imposing monument over 5m tall. Capstones can reach in excess of 70 tonnes, with that of Browne's Hill (County Carlow) being estimated at over 120 tonnes.

Often betwen the portal stones there is a door slab, blocking the width of the entrance, but not always the full height. Door slabs are either half height, three quarter height or full height, describing the amount of the portal that they obstruct. All portal tombs would have had door slab, but this has often been removed to facilitate entry into the chamber.

Quite rarely the portal stones are the same height as the chamber and the characteristic slope of the capstone is created by the profile of the capstone (see Glendruid (County Dublin)).

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Like this monument

Marked Sites

Old Images

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From Newcastle take the A2 north for about 3km and turn left. At the first left park up (if you can) and you will see the dolmen in the field just past the junction.


This dolmen is also known as "The Slidderyford Dolmen".

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Portal 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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