ACHONRY Boulder Burial,
County Sligo, Ireland
SMR No. SL032-189

This enormous Boulder Burial, marked as a rock outcrop on the 1837 edition of the
OS 6-inch map, was not marked on the 1885 edition, but was however marked on
the 1909 OS 6-inch maps as ‘Giants Grave’, is located NE of Tobercurry, (Tober án
Choire), on level ground on a north facing slope of a small gravel ridge. The
structure consists of three large boulders lying flat on the ground, supporting a
fourth (roof-stone) which has obviously been deliberately placed in this position (et
al Ó Nualláin). Of the three large boulders, the two to the south measure 2.15m x
2m x 70cm thick & 2.25m x l.60m x 0.90cm thick. The other to the north measures
2.70m x 2.70m x 0.70cm thick and between this boulder & the roof-stone there is a
pad-stone (0.35m x 0.25m x 0.2m thick). The roof-stone, the largest of the four,
measures 3.55m x 2.55m and is l.40m thick at the north & 0.50cm at the south.
According to Seán Ó Nualláin, ‘the affinities of this curious structure may lie with
boulder-burials’. (1989, 98, no. 22). ‘The monument does not appear to be a
collapsed megalithic tomb. The boulder construction, the lack of formal chamber
structure, the employment of a pad-stone and the lack of any traces of a cairn all
suggest affinities with the boulder-burials of southern Ireland. The presence of an
isolated boulder-burial at Clogher, some 17km to the SSE of Achonry would
support this tentative interpretation’. (Ó Nuallain 1986). Boulder burials, which
have been dated to the middle and late Bronze Age, consist of a large boulder or
cover stones of megalithic proportions, resting on three or four supporting stones.
It is not thought that these monuments were covered by a cairn, but stood above the
ground in groups of up to four. Boulder burials are rare in Sligo, with only two
recorded within the Archaeological Inventory in the very south of the county (Egan
et. al. 2005, 29). (The other is at Clogher, some 17km to the SSE of Achonry).
Another feature of boulder burials is no clearly defined burial chamber but rather a
pit below the boulder containing cremated remains.

Egan, U. et al. 2005 Archaeological Inventory of County Sligo Vol. 1 – South Sligo.
The Stationary Office: Dublin
SMR No.:-SL032-189
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Achonry Boulder Burial, County Sligo
Plan from ‘Survey of Megalithic
Tombs Vol. 5 APPENDIX p. 98
Fig. 79’.