Tullycommon : Wedge Tomb

Grid RefR 287 966
Longitude9° 3' 45.01" W
Latitude53° 0' 55.4" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownCorrofin (7.9 Km)
OS Sheet51
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 27th October 2002

I really do love this little tomb. Its discovery was a total surprise (and a very welcome one, because one minute after I got to it it started raining). I was walking from Cahercommaun (County Clare) to Slievenaglasha (County Clare) and I thought I could just see something in a field wall about 500m away from the fort, but here in the Burren that doesn't mean a thing. Odd shadows formed by the weirdly shaped rocks often play little tricks.

So, as I had checked the map and saw that there was nothing marked, it was a delight to see this nice little wedge tomb just sitting there. And small it is! The gallery is just 1.7m in length and no more that 80cm high. Squeezing in to gain some shelter was not easy. Getting out was even more of a laugh.

Unfortunately, because the wind was swirling around and there is a 20cm gap between the two roof stones, the protection factor of this tomb is only marginal. At least I got to write about it while watching the ink run in my notebook.

Wedge tombs are most easily catagorised by their main characteristic - they are taller and wider at the entrance than they are at the rear. Like court tombs they have a gallery which is split either by septal slabs or sill stones into smaller chambers. Galleries can be anything up to 8m in length.

The side walls are, uniquely, made of two rows of stones (three in some cases), which is refered to as double or triple walling. This double walling is perhaps the best feature to identify a wedge tomb by.

The roofs are constructed by laying large blocks or slabs across the gallery, resting on the tops of the walls.

They are often quite small, an amazing exception being Labbacallee (County Cork), one of the largest in Ireland. It is very rare to find a wedge tomb with its roof still in situ, although, occasionally, one or two of the roof slabs are present (see Proleek (County Louth)).

In some examples the roof would have extended beyond the front closing slab forming a portico at the front, which in a few specimens was split by a vertical stone place centrally in the entrance.

Like court tombs, portal tombs and passage tombs they were covered by a cairn, which, at many sites, it is still often possible to determine. A few, such as Burren SW (County Cavan), still retain a large proportion of the cairn.

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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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