MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS
     OF IRELAND.COM
RATHKENNY PORTAL TOMB
Hosting by Aabaco Web Hosting
This portal tomb, one of only two in County Meath, the other being at Ervey, is situated
in level pasture land, east of Rathkenny House, NW of the Hill of Slane, (Mullach
Baile Shlaine) and is marked on the OS map as 'Megalithic Tomb' & on the Historic
map as 'Druid's Altar'. It consists of a large capstone, now resting against a single
upright stone, possibly the sole surviving orthostat of the tomb. The underside of the
capstone and north face of the orthostat are ornamented with picked circular designs,
arcs and cup marks. In his book ‘The Dolmens of Ireland”, 1897 (Vol. 2,p 343-344)
William Copeland Borlase gives an account of the tomb and quotes Victor Du Noyer’s
description of the markings on the monument. He wrote: “In the Townland of
Rathkenny, and Parish of Rathkenny, is a dolmen marked Druids Altar in Ord. Surv.
Map No. 12. The covering-stone of this dolmen rests in an inclined position, the lower
edge upon the ground, and the upper portion propped by an angular block of grit
measuring 4 feet in height above ground, and 2 feet by 1 foot 6 ins. in breadth and
thickness. In this condition it resembles the dolmens of Howth and Mount Venus, and
comes under the category, according to Mr. Du Noyer, of semi-dolmens, or earth-fast
dolmens known to French antiquaries. The measurements of the covering-stone are 10
feet 10 ins. long, 8 feet 6 ins. broad, and 3 feet thick. Its weight has been estimated at
20 tons. The upper surface of this tabular stone is "profusely covered with small cup-
shaped hollows, some of which are probably natural, but others certainly artificial. and
between them a number of marks and scorings." Besides these marks on the surface of
the covering stone there are seven incised circles on its inner face, and seven more on a
pillar-stone of the same monument”. Borlase also includes an excellent drawing by Sir
Samuel Fergusson of the monument in his book.
CO-ORDINATES
53°45'39.3"N
6°39'11.3"W
RATHKENNY PORTAL TOMB, COUNTY MEATH