Rostellan : Portal Tomb

Grid RefW 875 672
GPSW 87462 67180 (12m)
Longitude8° 10' 55.2" W
Latitude51° 51' 24.6" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownMidleton (6.3 Km)
OS Sheet81
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 23rd June 2007

Ever since I first heard about this monument I have wanted to visit it, but it's so far out of the way ... and it's in an estuary. Yes, it's in the river! At low tide it is accessible and when I visited 2 hours before a 1m low tide I had no trouble in reaching it. Naturally, it's a bit muddy around the tomb, so good boots or wellingtons are advisable.

The remains are impressive and, even if they weren't in a river, they would be worth visiting. A moderate-sized capstone is held aloft by just two orthostats . Between these, at the west end, there is another stone forming the chamber. This looks as if it was the back stone and not the doorstone.

The uprights are 2m tall, about 1.5m wide and stand 1.5m apart. The high tide reaches at least halfway up these, so coming at high tide probably isn't a good idea. Beneath the exposed seaweed around the tomb's base I (literally) stumbled upon another large flag. This, presumably, was once part of the tomb.

To the west of the monument there are several large boulders that have been beautifully eroded by the ebb and flow of the tide. At the water's edge there seems to be an old quarry, which could be where the stones for the tomb were taken from.

The tomb is visible from the far side of the estuary if you don't fancy the adventurous walk through the woodland to the south.

The large rock used to form the roof of a portal tomb or kist.

A barrow is essentially a mound of earth over one or more burials. They are more usually to be dated to the Bronze Age. There are many forms of barrow including ring, bowl, long and bell barrows.

Ring barrows are formed by digging a circular trench or fosse around a central burial, with no mound.

Bowl barrows are formed by heaping up soil over the burial(s) from a surrounding fosse, these often have an external bank too (see Ballyremon Commons (County Wicklow)).

Bell barows are simply round mounds with no fosse or external bank.

Long barrows are rare in Ireland and are more common in southwest England. Their shape is basically ovoid rather than round (see Ballynoe (County Down))

Like this monument

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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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