'Bawnfree Hill' : Passage Tomb

TownlandKnockoliver
CountyKilkenny
Grid RefS 430 283
GPSS 43020 28323 (7m)
Longitude7° 22' 4.14" W
Latitude52° 24' 17.41" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownCarrick-On-Suir (7 Km)
OS Sheet75
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 7th August 2005

When previously at Knockroe (which I can see from here) I have looked at this site on the map and thought of coming here. It's a long trek and so I've always lazily put it off for another trip. However, I recently saw some pictures of the remains and decided to make a special trip to see this wonderous passage tomb.

At this height there are bound to be great views, but here they are special. I can look west to Slievenamon with its might cairn and also down on Ahenny. Northwest I am looking down on Knockroe. Directly north two strange pinacles rise up from the lowlands below. Northeast the peaks of two mountains just poke up above the nearer hill that forms a false horizon. East is the highest point of this hill with its dragon's spine-like ridge of jagged rock. To the southeast the view is blocked by modern plantation. The southern panorama is dominated by the Comeragh Mountains and southwest I can see the Galty Mountains along a wide valley.

Now to the stones themselves. I'm confused. There is definitely a central burial chamber and a kerb , which in places seems to be double, especially the southern arc. However the gap between the two sets of stones seems to be divided by others, so perhaps they were odd subsidiary chambers(?) There is stll quite a bit of cairn material here too, perhaps to a height of 1m in places.

All the stones are a pebble ridden conglomerate except for one, just outside of the kerb to the east, which is a large smooth boulder. This is set upon two smaller stones which make the top surface level. Is this an original feature or a later mass rock? It is certainly very altar-like.

The entrance (if my idea of which stones mark the entrance is correct) seems to point nor-nor-west, too far north for a winter solstice sunrise alignment - was this site aligned to the lunar maximum? BBeyond my wildest expectations I thnk I have spotted one soliitary piece of decoration on one of the stones by the entrance. A single circle motif carved on its inner face near the top.

From the very centre of the cairn several larger stones in the kerb seem to mark out some of the landscape features mentioned above. What a truly, truly great site this is!

A compartment in a tomb in which burials were placed. In court tombs and wedge tombs a chamber is a sub-division of the burial gallery. Portal tombs have single chambers and passage tombs can have anything from one to five chambers, although usually passage tombs are considered to have a main chamber with extra subsidary chambers.

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).

Like this monument

Marked Sites

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Passage 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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