Derrynavahagh : Wedge Tomb

Grid RefM 180 055
Longitude9° 13' 27.05" W
Latitude53° 5' 37.75" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownBallyvaghan (5.5 Km)
OS Sheet51
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 30th March 2003

Rumours have it that this is one of the finest tombs in the Burren area and so special effort was made to get to it. It lay some distance from my ideal route, but I was hoping that it would be worth the extra effort. As I drove along the road from the south the amount of effort necessary started to become very clear indeed - the tomb lies 500m from the road and about 80m above it. This doesn't seem like too much of a climb until you see that the hill is not a gentle sloping climb, but a series of high cliffs and plateaux. This is stunningly beautiful scenery, but great care must be taken when heading for this tomb. Every step should be watched because the clints and grikes of the pavements here are particularly evil.

The tomb is totally invisible from the road below and a GPS, good map reading skills or blind faith are necessary in order to find it. As it turns out the effort is worth just for the views, especially those to the north across Galway Bay and to the mountains beyond. The tomb itself is not mind blowingly special, but it is still very nice.

Only the front portion of the roof slab remains in place, perched on two lovely slabs forming the walls. The backstone is still present, but no stone blocks the entrance. Set to the front of the tomb is a huge slab (inline with the wall slab on the north side) similar to the one found at Creevagh (County Clare), which in my opinion is a much finer example of this style of construction.

The roofstone has a maximum height of 1.7m and the gallery measures 4m x 1.6m (approx).

A visit is recommended for the real enthusiast, but if you venture to this tomb please take a lot of care.

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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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