'Cairn T' : Passage Tomb

TownlandCorstown
CountyMeath
Grid RefN 586 776
GPSN 58636 77591 (5m)
Longitude7° 6' 40.18" W
Latitude53° 44' 40.66" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownOldcastle (4.3 Km)
OS Sheet42
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

This is a subsite of:

Loughcrew - Corstown - Loughcrew (Carnbane East) - Passage Tomb Cemetery
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Visit Notes

Saturday, 25th November 2006

Cairn T is the most splendid of all the Carnbane East tombs, having been restored to its full glory. The cairn that covers the passage and chambers reaches over 5m high. The orthostats that line the passage and those that wall the chambers are heavily carved with beautiful motifs (see parent site for images of the inside of this tomb).

The passage is built so that the Equinox sun shines along it and lights up the rear stone of the west chamber. Many people gather here each year to try and witness this wondrous event.

Situated on the northside of the kerb is a large, carved stone known as The Hag's Chair. The front face of this stone is carved with graffiti, but it was once carved with spirals and zig-zags. Some of the original carvings can be seen if you catch the stone in the right light - At the base fo the stone in the centre there is a faint spiral, for example. The upper surface of the stone has been cut away to form a seat - hence the stone's name.

A cairn is a large pile of stones, quite often (but not always) containing a burial. Sometimes they have a kerb around the base.

Most cairns are hemi-spherical (like half a football), but the piles of stones used to cover wedge tombs, court tombs and portal tombs are also called cairns. When associated with these types of monument they are not always round, but sometimes rectangular or trapezoidal.

A low stone used to de-lineate the divisions of a gallery. Sill stones fill the width of the space, but do not reach the roof.

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))

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).

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Old Images

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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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