MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS
     OF IRELAND.COM
FENAGH BEG PORTAL TOMB
Hosting by Aabaco Web Hosting
This wonderful Portal Tomb, marked on the earlier editions of the OS maps as 'Dermot
& Grania's Bed', is located on a rocky outcrop at the west side of a steep north-south
ravine, west of the R202, NNW of the village of Fenagh. The grass-covered cairn,
presently measuring 31.5m N-S, 9.5m E-W and 1m in height, contains a chamber 2.4m
in length, 2.2m-1.1m in width and 0.85m in height at the south end. The tomb, aligned
NNW - SSE, consists of two portal stones  (one slightly broken), two side-stones, a back-
stone and a large grass covered capstone that measures 3.75m in length, 1.6m in width
and 0.50m in depth and rests on the west portal, the back-stone and the east side-stone.
The west portal stone measures 1.15m in height, 0.80m in width & 0.40m in depth and
leans slightly inwards. The east portal stone, set 1m away, measures 0.85m in height,
1.15m in width & 0.40m in depth. The west side-stone is pitched inwards, as does the
back-stone, while the east side-stone is erect. A set stone inside the west portal could be
portion of a concealed sill-stone. Borlase describes the tomb as 'a Giants Grave on the
left hand side of the road from Mohill to Fenagh, opposite the enclosure marked
Ancient Town, with Church, Cashel, and Grave Yard. It is between a quarter and half a
mile S.W. of Fenagh, and is called locally ‘Leaba Diarmuid is Graine’. ‘It consisted of
a rough roofing-stone supported at one end by a high pillar, and at the other end by a
flag which had probably given way, and become displaced from its original position.
The sides of the chamber were formed by slabs which did not reach the roof. Other
large stones abutted on the structure' (Borlase 193-4). Borlase's description is very
accurate but the directions he gives, he seems to have confused the portal tomb with the
court tomb at Commons (LE029-002) which, as he states, is marked 'Giants Grave' and
is 'on the left hand side of the road from Mohill to Fenagh, opposite the enclosure
marked Ancient Town'. The portal tomb, however, is on the left hand side of the road
from Fenagh to Ballinamore and is marked 'Dermot & Grania's Bed' and is a half
mile NNW of the village. McParlan says that it is 'within half a mile of Fenagh' and
describes it as 'a very large Druidical altar'. He states that 'the natives call them 'Leaba
Dearmud is Graine' or 'Darby and Graine's Bed' who they suppose must have been
King and Queen, whose bed could have been, in very early times, ornamented by such a
canopy of stone' (McParlan, p. 93-94). Hennessy & Kelly write that it is supposed to be
the burial-place of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Noígíallach (Niall of the Nine
Hostages): 'Conall was interred in the Earth, between the lake and the Dun. The lake:
Loch Rein, Loch Saloch, at Fenagh & the Dun: Dun-baile; the ancient name for
Fenagh' (Hennessy & Kelly, p.91). O'Donovan's Ordnance Survey Letters for Cavan
and Leitrim stated that 'it is called a cromlech by the lake. The name 'Oscar's Grave' is
a modern and incorrect designation of it' (OSL p.311).
Sources:
Hennessy & Kelly, ‘The Book of Fenagh’ (I. M. C., Dublin, 1939)
McParlan, ‘Statistical Survey of the County Leitrim’ (Dublin, 1802)
O'Donovan's Ord. Surv. Letters, Cavan and Leitrim (1836)
de Valera, R., &  Ó Nualláin, S., 'Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland. Vol. III.
(Dublin: Stationery Office, 1972).
CO-ORDINATES
54°01'24.3"N
7°50'10.0"W