Ballynageeragh : Portal Tomb

CountyWaterford
Grid RefS 495 030
GPSS 49519 03031
Longitude7° 16' 33.73" W
Latitude52° 10' 37.15" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownTramore (7.4 Km)
OS Sheets75, 82
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 31st March 2002

There seems to be some local pride in this rebuilt monument and perhaps rightly so. It is, at first sight, quite spectacular and it is only upon closer inspection that the poor quality of the restoration becomes apparent.

The west end is propped up on a horrible wall erected it would seem in 1944 by P Murray and Sons (from an incription). A local school have erected a lovely little sign at the corner of the field.

The capstone measures 4m x 2.5m and does still have some angle. The wall slabs are a little untidy and the whole structure does not realy look right at all. Still, it is a fine specimen and very easy to reach being signposted and on Waterford's Dolmen Trail.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Sunday, 16th July 2006

One my previous visit here the weather was pretty bad, so another trip has been on the cards for a while. Obviously, this time around I was expecting to see the horrible brick wall! This allowed me to take in the surrounding countryside and the rest of the monument without distraction.

This portal tomb is set in a lovely spot. It is built on a large, open plane making the views (where they're not blocked by houses and hedges) very extensive.

It is actually the east end that is propped up, not the west end. This means that the two portal stones and the doorstone are most likely the missing elements.

Portal tombs are what most people wrongly refer to as dolmens. They are, to me at least, the most strikingly designed of the megalithic tombs. They are called portal tombs because they have two large upright stones, usually very well matched, in front of the chamber that seem to form a doorway.

Resting upon the portal stones and the chamber a large capstone rests (sometimes there are two capstones - see Knockeen (County Waterford)), usually at an angle of around 22 degrees from the horizontal. Although these were originally incorporated into one end of a long cairn there are none left in this state today, although traces of the cairn can sometimes be seen upon the ground. The portal stones can be up to 3.5m tall, which combined with a thick capstone can produce an imposing monument over 5m tall. Capstones can reach in excess of 70 tonnes, with that of Browne's Hill (County Carlow) being estimated at over 120 tonnes.


Often betwen the portal stones there is a door slab, blocking the width of the entrance, but not always the full height. Door slabs are either half height, three quarter height or full height, describing the amount of the portal that they obstruct. All portal tombs would have had door slab, but this has often been removed to facilitate entry into the chamber.

Quite rarely the portal stones are the same height as the chamber and the characteristic slope of the capstone is created by the profile of the capstone (see Glendruid (County Dublin)).

Portal stones are a pair of upright stones that form the 'entrance' to a portal tomb. They are usually well matched, being of even dimensions. As well as forming this doorway they also act as the front support for the capstone and are usually taller than the stones that form the chamber.

Often there is a door stone in between them blocking off access to the chamber within.

Click Thumbnail to View Full Size Image

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Like this monument

Marked Sites

Directions

From Waterford take the N25 west and then the R681 south. Take the second left (after about 5km). Turn right at the junction after the crossroads (just before church) and continue for 750m. On the right you will come to a track on the right with a little yellow dolmen sign opposite. Drive up this track until it widens out into a sort of parking space. The dolmen is in the field ahead.

Random Gazetteer

A Selection of Other Portal Tombs

External Links

1930 Photo

A photo from circa 1930. Go to the link and search for UK1172 for an image of the tomb looking a bit more proud than it does today.
Click here to visit this site

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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