Aghanaglack: Double-court tomb
H 096 435
by a motorable track through Ballintempo Forest, this tomb has
been used (like much of the Irish countryside) as a rubbish-dump
in the past - but now looks pretty in a sylvan glade. Two twin-chambered
galleries about 6 metres long share a common backstone. The NE
court is horseshoe-shaped and set askew to point E.
~ 6.8 km
E, in Corraderry Brock (H 031 437) are the remains of two
concentric stone circles (?) on top of a knoll overlooking Lough
Macnean Upper to the S, making the knoll look like a cairn. The
outer circle, 14.5 metres in diameter, is composed of eight uprights
from 20 to 90 cms high. The inner circle, 6.5 metres in diameter,
comprises five uprights and one fallen stone, from only 15 to
only 37 cms high.
Glebe: Passage-tomb kerb
H 426 200
Sheets 27 and 27A
SW of Wattle Bridge, like a prehistoric frontier observation-post
(overlooking three counties) on top of a drumlin (glacial hillock),
'The Druids' Temple' is a kerb of some 67 stones, some
35 metres in diameter surrounding a destroyed round cairn. Originally,
the stones (some of them massive and up to 2 metres high) would
have been contiguous as at Tops passage-tomb in county
but most have now fallen. It was described in 1712 as "a
mighty heap of stones, the bases encircled with very large stones
standing on end...has been removed to pave our ways... Under the
cairn were some urns found in stone coffins." From it there
is a fine view of 19th century Crom Castle.
~ 10 km
N, easily accessible in Cloghagaddy (H 430 302), is Legaun
(Irish liogán = standing-stone), a handsome monolith
some 2.3 metres high - but in 2002 entirely covered with ivy.
Island (Dreenan): Statues
H 085 622
is no longer an island, and the two famous statues are in Caldragh
old graveyard in the townland of Dreenan, nearly 10 km E by S
of Kesh. The more famous of the statues (marked Carved Stones
on the map), is a double-sided figure of two beings in typical
'Celtic' squatting mode, carved back-to-back, the E side being
male with a pointed penis beneath the stylised crossed arms (all
carved in high relief), and the W side being female, with a protruding
tongue. There is incised zig-zag decoration between the two heads,
which may represent hair, and both figures have a band or belt
at the base of the torsos.
side of the double figure shortly after cleaning
other, smaller, statue came from Lusty More Island close by, and
was perversely known as "The Lusty Man" even though
it is genderless. The fact that only one eye is fully carved suggests
that it may represent the Badhbha or Divine Hag, who latterly
became the Caillech
Bhéarra, and, like the Norse sky-god Odin,
was blind in the left eye. The name Boa is an anglicisation of
her name. This statue is carved in light relief, and the figure
seems to be holding something. The protruding tongue of this figure
and the W side of the larger statue is a symbol of divinity (cf
also the Greek Gorgons) also associated with Odin, and in mediæval
times became a symbol of suffering, damnation - and concupiscence
figures are part of a vast iconographic web and provide the archæological
and 'Celtic' fringe with plenty of opportunitiues for selective
interpretation. The date of the statues is probably no earlier
than the 8th century (and maybe rather later). It is remarkable
that they should have survived even in this formerly most remote
part of Ireland, especially since the other famous Fermanagh figures
on White Island,
to the S, are so evidently Christian. They have not, like many
other Irish monuments, been vaguely Christianised with fanciful
my most recent visit (July 2013) I noticed that money had been
deposited in the groove between the two back-to-back heads. This
is a very recent practice..
~ 14.5 km
SE are other carved stones at Killadeas.
~ 10.4 km
N by E is the court-tomb at Tawlaght, county Donegal.
~ 14.4 km
NE is Drumskinny stone circle and row.
Megalithic tomb ?
H 266 487
on the thumbnail for a high-resolution picture
On top of
a low hill, commanding fine views, this picturesque group of 7
stones (ranging from 75 cms to over 2 metres high) might be the
remains of a stone circle, or of a court-tomb - or something else.
~ 5 km ENE
at Ballyreagh, less than 800 metres SW of Lough Mulshane,
is a double-court tomb (H 313 506) whose 33-metre cairn encloses
2 twin-chambered galleries featuring sill-stones and septal slabs.
A house was once built against the N wall of the E gallery.
~ 10 km
NE, scattered over various townlands on Brougher Mountain,
are several standing-stones and groups of megalithic remains.
According to the megalithic survey there is a group of 5 stones
not marked on the map at H 350 517, which may be the remains
of a tomb; and (70 metres SW of a standing stone, two stone
circles and a stone-row marked on the map) a standing-stone
1.7 metres high with a row of small stones and remains of stone
circles at H 358 529, with more alignments and stones including
the remains of a wedge-tomb just 100 metres S.
The only stone I have so far seen is in Glen townland
(H 348 513): a handsome slab 1.3 metres high by 1 metre across
which looks like the end-stone of a megalithic chamber.
H 020 507
In the midst
of the modern Big Dog Forest, "Skagh(a)lea Cairn" is
a fine, almost intact long cairn of limestone boulders, some 20
by 17 metres, and two metres high. At the SE end, eleven low,
mossy orthostats remain of a three-quarter court, wineglass-shaped,
together with 4 stones of a frontal façade, and a very
large stone which blocks the entrance. The gallery is, as originally
intended, covered by cairn-material.
Stone circle and stone-row
H 201 707
for a larger picture
many examples of stone circles in high bogland in N Fermanagh,
South Derry and Tyrone, but this is one of the most accessible
and charming, despite the surrounding fence and inappropriate
gravel - white quartzite
chips would be much more in keeping with tradition. Measuring
13 metres in diameter, it originally had 39 upright stones up
to 1.8 metres in height, with a probable gap to the NW where there
is a small carefully-constructed cairn of stones contained within
a kerb almost 4 metres in diameter. Stretching S from the cairn
is a 15-metre-long alignment of 23 small stones.
~ 1.5 km
S in Montiaghroe, just E of the road (H 193 694) is a fine
three-stone row, whose tallest member is 1.8 metres high.
SE of this
(H 194 693) on a boggy south-facing hillslope, is one of a group
of 4 ruined stone circlesin this townland. The circle comprises
24 limestone boulders protruding above the bog surface to heights
varying from just 5 centimetres to 75 centimetres. They form the
almost complete circumference of a circle some eleven metres in
diameter. To the NE are two tangential stone alignments. Farther
north (almost due S of the three-stone row) is what looks remarkably
like a cyclopean court-tomb on the edge of a rocky scarp.
There are more stones on the other side of the road at H 191 693,
and at H 197 691 are two massive pillars with a small stone out
of line some distance away.
~ 5.6 km
ENE, in county Tyrone, is a court-tomb at Ally (H 258 725),
above a car-park just NE of a water-treatment plant by the main
road in Lough Bradan Forest. A large horizontally-split lintel
sits on top of the entry jambs, whose forecourt and entrance are
obscured by the circular wall of a more modern sheepfold. There
are 2 chambers, and beyond them a lateral chamber with gabled
backstone, corbel stones and displaced roofstone. One stone of
the front chamber has several holes and depressions which may
be more than solution-pits.
~ 10 km
SSE, on the N side of an E-W ridge (H 233 615) which is covered
in blanket bog in Keeran, is the 6.5 metre gallery of a
wedge-tomb with no trace of a cairn. A capstone is still in place
at the E end, while a single surviving upright at the W end may
have formed part of the entrance.
~ 8.8 km
W by N, in county Donegal, is Tawlaght court-tomb (H 113
724) some 400 metres E by S of Lough Nashannagh, with a fine lintel
spanning the low entrance to the two-chambered gallery. This tomb
was intact at the end of the 19th century, but like perhaps scores
of Irish prehistoric tombs it was ransacked by "sporting"
gunmen who removed the roofstones. This of course also happened
in France during the second World War, when the Resistance maquisards
were in hiding and hungry.
SW are the Boa Island statues.
H 172 292
Sheets 26 and 27A
wedge-tomb survives best at the 'back' end, where a roofstone
remains in place above the main gallery, and another one has fallen
into it. The front of the sepulchre faces westwards up the steep
slope straight into Cuilcagh Mountain, while the relatively high
E end commands panoramic views to Upper Lough Erne and Benaughlin.
About 4 metres E (down the slope) some kerbstones are incorporated
in a ruined field-wall. To the south there are two additional
chambers, possibly added later, that equal the main tomb in size.
One of these chambers is filled with cairn material. Much double-walling
exists down both sides. Separating the unroofed portico from the
main chamber is a low sill stone, whereas the two subsidiary chambers
are separated by a high septal slab.
~ 3 km N,
just N of a track and between two streams in Teesnaghtan (H
193 306) is a small standing-stone, 1.5 metres high. A small cross
has been inscribed near the top of the NE face in a crack in the
sandstone. 50 metres NW is a small round cairn.
~ 10 km
E by N in Aghakillymaud (H 273 310) is a court-tomb with
well-preserved cairn amongst which can be discerned a partially-exposed
jamb and a pair of portal-stones at the NE entrance. This is one
of a group of megalithic remains around Knockninny, on top of
which is a fine cairn.
Cupmarked slab, Phallic stone and holed stone
H 205 540
In the graveyard
of a Protestant church (in Rockfield townland) on the W side of
the road, a large slab, 1.5 metres high has at least 10 deep cup-marks
on one face, while the other face has been Christianised with
a Greek cross on a bifurcated stem. Cup-marked stones like this
(both natural and enhanced) are a feature of counties Leitrim
is a small, broken phallic pillar and a perforated stone half-embedded
in the ground. Near the graveyard wall is 'The Bishop's Stone'
with an ecclesiastic on one side and a human face above interlace
on the front edge. This site - like White
Island and Boa Island farther north, with their carvings
both 'pagan' and Christian in Christian contexts - is interesting
for its very obvious overlap of 'pagan' and Christian. The cup-marked
stone looks very much like a multiple-bullaun,
Christianised and set on edge: compare the site at Killinagh
in county Cavan. Many standing-stones and ogam stones in Ireland
were latterly Christianised, as were some menhirs in France. Fermanagh
and Leitrim were of course, until the last subjugation by the
English, the most inaccessible and culturally conservative part
of Ireland. Both counties even until recently had a kind of remote
or otherworldly feeling to them.
~ 14.5 km
NW are the Boa Island statues.
Beg: Wedge-tomb, Standing-stones, etc.
G 982 542
is for a well-preserved wedge-tomb in a group of megaliths lying
to the W of a track running SE from a by-road close to a wind-farm.
The first monument is immediately to the right of the track: two
stones, 2.8 metres apart looking like two halves of a split limestone
boulder, which are probably the remains (façade cornerstones
?) of a large tomb which would also have been aligned NW like
the other tombs nearby. On the NW face of one are natural vertical
grooves. A tree has grown between the stones, which overlook the
wedge-tomb, 200 metres ESE.
It has an almost
complete rectangular gallery, 5 metres long and divided into two
by a septal slab, facing NW along the little valley below. The
gallery, the backstone and the walls are buried quite deeply into
the remain of the cairn. Parts of the double walling can also
be seen. Inside the chamber is a fallen roof-stone one of whose
corners rests on a side-stone. The NW end is blocked by a septal
stone & flanked by a pair of portals, which, with a pair of
lateral slabs, form an antechamber - off which is a small rectangular
chamber on either side.
~ 26 metres
S are the remains of another megalithic structure which has been
described as the vestiges of a stone circle or a cairn-kerb.
~ Nearby to the NW is another wedge-tomb in good condition, but
with smaller gallery, buried within the remains of its cairn and
aligned to the NW. Two stones of the façade still front
the monument, but there is no portico. Set immediately behind
these stones two large jambs define the entrance.
On the other side
of the track, nearly 500 metres SE of the wedge-tomb is another,
ruined wedge-tomb, 35 metres S of which are (allegedly) more remains
comprising four widely-spaced earth-fast boulders which are surrounded
by many other displaced stones.
The whole complex is overlooked by the wind-farm.
H 062 040
200 metres N of the Belcoo-Garrison road, overlooking Lough Macnean
Upper, this portal-tomb must have been spectacular before its
3 x 2.4 metre capstone collapsed. Only three other stones survive.
for another view
~ 2.3 km ESE at Drumcoo
(H 083 392), tucked away in the fold of a hill behind a hedge
on land owned by Mrs Bernadette Ferguson (who will happily guide
the visitor) is one of the stones known as Crom Cruaich
(see Killycluggin, Cavan).
It is a tall, thin limestone slab 2.2 metres high, with a natural
groove and faceting on the N face vaguely suggestive of a girdle
or belt and legs. Despite the local lore suggesting that the stone
walked from Killinagh across Lough Macnean Upper in county Cavan,
this stone looks very like a portal-stone of a destroyed portal-tomb,
facing NE, whose capstone fitted against the sloping top of the
Just over 4 km ESE, 120 metres SSW of Templenaffrin old
church (H 101 388) and beside a 'Fairy Thorn' tree, is a large,
flat-topped boulder over 1 metre high and square. with three massive
largest is over 35 cms in diameter and 20 cms deep. Another seems
as if the bullaun was ground into the bottom of an earlier one.
There is also a shallow depression that might conceivably be the
beginning of a fourth basin.
~ 6.5 km
SE (H 107 355) is a court-tomb at Clyhannagh whose 19-metre
long gallery is distinctly kinked - suggesting that a two-chambered
megalithic kist was enlarged by the addition of two more chambers
and a forecourt - or that a single-court tomb of 2 or 3 chambers
became a double-court tomb of 2+3 or 3+2 chambers, whose shared
backstone is now (like the courts) missing. A few metres to the
E (H 106 355) is a sandstone slab propped on a boulder, bearing
one cup and ring and many other hollows natural, artificial or
~ 7.5 km
SE (H 1074 3048) in a boulder-strewn field in Killykeeghan,
15 metres S of a stone enclosure, is a rounded limestone boulder
with two deep cups - one with a surrounding ring, the other with
an arc. A third small cup has a penannular ring. Other hollows
in the stone are probably solution-pits.
H 326 465
distance S of the road from Enniskillen to Tempo are four stones
of a handsome five-stone row aligned E-W, whose largest is 1.3
metres high. Apparently there was a fifth, larger, perforated
stone known as "The Wishing Chair", which was destroyed
in the first half of the 20th century.
~ 2 km ENE
in Pubble (H 346 468), on top of a low hill cut through
by the road to Lisbellaw, are "The Doon Stones", two stones placed
one on top of the other, with Bronze Age designs on contiguous
faces. The upper face of the lower stone, which is 1.1 metres
high and 1.8 metres long, bears many cup-marks, and has a large
cup-mark on each of its other 3 sides. The now-almost-invisible
lower face of the upper stone (1.5 metres long) has a design of
spirals and a circle.
km WSW in Mullyknock on the summit of Topped Mountain
(H 311 457) is a conspicuous multiple-kist cairn (30 metres
in diameter and 4 metres high) which was excavated in the 19th
century. This is signposted as a viewpoint and has a path leading
up to it.
km SW on the slopes of the appropriately-named Cloghtogle Mountain
(Cloch Tógala = raised stone) in Coolbuck
is a wedge-tomb (H 310 439) with a chamber nearly 8 metres long
in a well-preserved cairn smothered with gorse. There are the
remains of a stone circle at H 306 436, and some standing-stones,
one of which looks very like the backstone of a chamber.
To the NW in Cloghtogle townland, just a few centimetres
from a concrete path to a modern house (H 319 442) is "The
Druid's Altar", listed as another wedge tomb, but looking
like a small kist with a large roofstone.
4 km SSW in Mountdrum (H 308 431, about 900 metres SSW
of the Coolbuck wedge-tomb) is a triple stone circle
with 'spokes' of radial alignments oriented SE. Between the
almost-complete inner circle (or rather oval) about 5 metres
in diameter and the middle circle are 12 slabs set radially.
One metre outside the middle circle (2 arcs of which survive)
are the remains of the outer circle, about 8 metres in diameter.
An alignment of small stones runs off radially 30 metres to
100 metres N are the remains of a wedge-tomb, much of whose
cairn is embedded in peat.
The site now has a car-park and information-boards indicating
other features of what amounts to a 'megalithic complex'.
Petroglyphs (rock art)
H 113 463
by a motorable track up to a modern bungalow (park in front of
the bungalow and go down some steps, then over a stone stile and
the rocks are visible to your right), 500 metres WNW of Boho graveyard
(which has a fine 12th century cross-shaft featuring Adam and
Eve and the serpent on its E face), are 6 stones in a field in
front of the bungalow, five of which have cup-and-ring carvings.
The largest of them, 3.3 metres long and over 2 metres high, is
almost completely covered with the designs, many of them overlapping.
On one of the small stones the cups and rings are unusually deep.
Some good carvings are on a flat stone which appears to have been
broken from a larger one, since one of its motifs is only half
there. The engravings are partly obscured by heavy growths of
lichen, and are best seen in oblique light on a fine summer evening.