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Previous entry: Knocknarea

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Listoghil (also known as “tomb 51”) at Carrowmore is situated at the highest point in the Carrowmore complex, about 50m above sea level. It is surrounded by a cluster of ‘dolmen circles’. Unlike these uncovered chambers however the central monument had a cairn or covering mound of stones. It is also much bigger than the satellite tombs, being about 34 metres in diameter, whereas the satellites average about 15m. (Queen Maeve’s tomb close by, on Knocknarea, by contrast has a cairn twice the diameter, and stands at about 10 metres).  There is a good description of Listoghil at the Standing Stone who also comment on the redevelopment/restoration of the cairn, thus:

In 2003 the tomb was restored somewhat controversially. There was debate as to how to restore the tomb if at all. It was in bad repair and something had to be done. It was decided to replace the cairn but not to the extent that it would cover the tomb. Rather the cairn has been built up (I’m not sure if the farm walls built from the cairn material were deconstructed for this or not) with a large central area left clear so the tomb can be accessed. To do this, stones are held back by a very ugly wire mesh. The effect is that you really feel part of a modern garden structure rather than in an ancient tomb of some significance. At least the plans to cover the tomb with a concrete dome were scrapped. It is amazing to me that we take our best antiquities in Ireland and rebuild them with so little concern for their original appearance (just as at Newgrange). While this is the most important tomb at Carrowmore it is the least interesting to me having been butchered by poor restoration attempts.

The description is accurate, but on the positive side the appearance will improve with time, and the reconstruction allows one to enter the cairn via a passage which provides one with a strong sense of the scale of the monument.

Human bones found in Listoghil were a mixture of cremated, and un-cremated bones whereas the older, smaller tombs around it generally contain burnt bones. The older burial sites in Ireland such as those in Carrowmore are the only ones in Europe that have been found to have practiced cremation rather than inhumation.

Posted by bigblue on 15/09/2011 at 08:08 AM
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