At a Glance
County Armagh
OS Map 29
OS Coordinate J 099 194
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Ancient Ireland Home

Clontygora, Co.

Location: From Newry head south on A 1. Just at the border of Louth into the Republic make the first left (close to the small bridge). The narrow road winds down and terminates in a T junction. Make a right and watch for the signpost on the left. The tomb is in the field with a nice fenced, grassy path for access.

Dimensions: The forecourt is the most impressive feature of the tomb and is defined by very large orthostats (upright stones). The tallest of these are near the center of the forecourt and stand over 2.75 m high. The ruined burial gallery consists of at least two, probably three, chambers lined with similarly large sidestones and some roofing slabs still survive - though displaced. Very little remains of the stone cairn which once would have covered the tomb. The first burial chamber is quite well preserved and is almost 3m wide. Stone has been robbed from the second chamber, and also from a third chamber, leaving it with no existing surface remains at all. Evidence of this third chamber was revealed only by excavation in 1937. The below-ground archaeological record yielded sherds of decorated and plain ware, worked flint and cremated human bone and earlier stone structures. Overall dimensions including cairn would have been approximately 20 meters long by 10.5 meters wide.

Features: Huge orthostats, particularly those flanking the entrance to the chambers are the most obvious features of this tomb. The enormous chair shaped orthostat to the right of the entrance to the gallery makes this monument easily recognizable in photographs.

Comments: When reading about this tomb, I wasn't expecting much. "Ruinous", "badly mutilated" were the terms most often used. There is still plenty left to impress the visitor and it is easily recognized as a court tomb as all the most classic identifying features are here. This is a VERY nicely maintained site.

History: Clontygora - Chluainte Gabhra, the "meadow of the goats" -is located at the foot of Anglesey Mountain overlooking the flat plains of Meigh towards Slieve Gullion. The court tomb, which is over 6,000 years old, is known locally as 'The King's Ring', and is an impressive monument despite damage in the past. In the eighteenth century stones were removed from the tomb to build the first lock on the Newry Canal, in the nineteenth century to construct the quay at Narrow Water, and in more recent years to build field boundary walls. During excavation of the tomb in 1937 small fragments of human bone were recovered from the burial chambers, with Neolithic pottery and flint, including three fine leaf-shaped arrowheads.

Other Items of Interest: There is said to be another, more ruinous tomb in an adjoining field, though we did not note it at the time of our visit in May, 2006.

  © 2005-06 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.