Situated on the very edge of a pine forest, this tomb is now nothing more than the circle defined by its kerb stones. The view, however, is breathtaking in a way so typical of many sites in this area, a full vista of Dublin bay and the islands within it. Only the noise of a nearby tractor ruined this idyllic spot.
A kerb is a ring of stones placed around the perimeter of a burial mound or cairn. It basically serves the purpose of a retaining wall to keep the cairn or earth in place. Kerbs are usually associated with passage tombs, but do occur on court tombs and wedge tombs too.
Sometimes on passage tombs the stones can bear decoration, such as at Newgrange (County Meath).
In my current session of discovering the Dublin landscape and how sites fit in I could not exclude a trip back here, afterall this is where I truly noticed the importance of Howth from. Also a lot of my research leads me back to this area.
Not as easy to get to as on my last visit due to replanting of the area around it. One good thing though - I did notice that the tomb was built on a natural rise on a promontory, giving the place a special, hand picked feel. A very deliberate placement.
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On the way home I thought I'd stop here to see how the pine plantation had been replanted around the site. I'm happy to say that a respectable amount of space has been left. I love the views from here: you can see right over Dublin Bay, Howth and Lambay Island.
I took a little time to look at possible alignments too. I think there may well be something around Two Rocks Mountain, which is pretty much due east. I am also certain that there is a nice summer solstice sunrise alignment over the top of Lambay Island, where there is an Neolithic axe factory.
Follow the R114 out of Dublin and take the third right after Oldbawn. Be careful this is a nasty turn that doubles back on itself on a blind bend. Follow the road and then the track until you reach a small settlement. Park at the entrance to the forest and follow the track for about 50m. Turn right and head through the trees for about another 75m.
From this tomb the Beltaine sun rises over the Ben of Howth.
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.