Island Wedge Tomb, Co. Cork
About 8 km south of Mallow on N 20 take a left turn for Burnfort (sign-posted).
Take the next left (at Burnfort) past the school. Keep right at the fork and take the first road to the right
(not the farm track). Take the second track on your right. It is paved (if you come to the 4-way intersection,
you've gone too far). This long, straight, narrow, improved (asphalted) farm track leads up to two farmhouses.
Ask at the second house (not the one on the left as you enter the
paved farmyard) for permission to enter the field as it is surrounded by an electric fence.
The tomb is in a field behind the enormous red barn, easily seen from the entrance to the field.
Dimensions: The galley of this tomb is oriented approximately SW - NE . It is divided into a portico and
main chamber enclosed in a U-shaped outer wall surrounded by an oval cairn measuring 11.5 meters long by 9.7 meters wide.
Features: Even at the ancient ground level, this was a very small tomb and appears even shorter today both
from the higher modern ground level and evidence during excavation that many of the tops of the sidestones were found
to be broken. The twin sidestones that flank the entrance and make this tomb instantly recognizable in photographs are much
taller by comparison, being a bit over 1.5 meters in height. It is still a lovely example of a classic wedge tomb.
Comments: Because the field is ordinarily grazed by a herd of cattle, it can be quite muddy,
particularly toward the low-lying entrance to the field where water tends to pool. Sturdy weatherproof boots are
highly recommended. This petite but beautiful tomb is well worth the effort.
History: This tomb was excavated in 1957-58 by O'Kelly and reconstructed after excavation
to appear much as it does today. C14 dating indicates activity in the time range of 1412-1308 BC and
suggests that the gallery and outer wall were constructed in Early Bonze Age with slightly later
enhancements with a concentric kerb. Evidence of cremated burial was found in several areas of the main chamber,
as well as worked flint and scrapers. Also found were a spindled whorl and two glass beads.