MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS
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BALLYNOE / NEWTOWN PORTAL TOMB
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This wonderfully strange portal tomb at Ballynoe, (*An Baile Nua), or Newtown as it is
sometimes called, is sited in good open pasture, 100m east of the River Derreen, (*An
Daoirín), a large tributary of the River Slaney (Abhainn na Sláine, meaning 'river of
health'), SE of Tullow (*An Tulach, meaning 'a gentle hill') and is marked as
'Cromlech on the OSI maps. The tomb, facing upslope to the east, consists of a heavily
grooved large capstone, measuring 3.5m in length, 3.2m in width and 0.8m in depth,
resting on a single possible portal stone and a small possible side-stone. The other
portal stone, now collapsed, lies underneath the capstone, as does a small end-stone.
The west end of the tomb now rests on a small rock outcrop facing down towards the
river. There is no visible trace of a cairn or covering mound. The grooves or ridges on
the outer surface of the capstone give it an appearance of a gigantic leatherback sea
turtle, an erosional condition found on many of the standing stones in County Carlow
and neighbouring County Kildare. The monument is described in the Ord. Surv. Letters
as ‘Cromlech near Aghade....This dolmen, possessed a peculiar roofing-stone, having
grooves down the side, giving it the appearance of the body of an animal with
protruding ribs; or, on the underpart, that of a sow's dugs’. (p.404). Borlase quotes the
Ord. Surv. Letters and produces an etching from a photograph (Fig. 381, p.400). The
holed stone at Aghade or 'Cloghaphile' (CW013-034) lies 1km NW on the other side of
the River Slaney in the town-land of Aghade.

Sources:
Borlase, W. 'The Dolmens of Ireland' Vol. 2 (1897)
Ordnance Survey Letters Carlow (14/B./14' p. 404)
* Placenames Database of Ireland 2016
BALLYNOE - NEWTOWN PORTAL TOMB CO. CARLOW
CO-ORDINATES
52 46’ 1.62”N…6 43’ 53.98”W