MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS
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KNOCKATOTAUN MEGALITHIC TOMB
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This fine megalithic tomb is located on a south facing, gentle slope of a small hill, in
the town-land of Knockatotaun (*Cnoc an Tóiteáin meaning 'hill of the burning'), 2.5
km NE of the village of Lavagh (*An Leamhach meaning 'place of elms') and 9km NE
of the town of Tobercurry (*Tobar an Choire meaning 'well of the cauldron'). The
structure, marked as 'Druid’s Altar' on the 1st edition of the OS maps and as 'Giant’s
Grave' on all subsequent editions, is situated at the NE foot of Knocknashee Mountain
(*Cnoc na Sí) with the passage tomb of Knocknashee Common (SL032-013002) at its
summit and enjoys fine views of Slieve Gamph (*Sliabh Gamh) or The Ox Mountains
to the NW. The large, flat roof-stone, aligned roughly SE - NW, is 3m in length, 2.7m
in width, 0.40m in depth and is supported in a horizontal position on two sides by four
of seven stones, 1.1m in height, 1m in width and 0.50m in depth, set in an irregular line
under its perimeter. Five or more other stones now lie loose under the perimeter of the
roof-stone but their function is undetermined. A large amount of possible cairn
material is scattered close by. There are also some small stones on the SE side that
could be the remains of the outer walling, making it a possible wedge tomb. 'This is
clearly an ancient burial chamber but its age and cultural context is unclear' (Ó
Nualláin, p.98). Borlase wrote that 'in the Townland of Knockatotaun, and Parish of
Killoran, a Druid's Altar is so marked in Ord. Surv. Map No. 25' and that 'it is
sometimes called simply Leac, i.e. Flagstone' (Borlase, p.181 ). While Col. Wood-
Martin called it 'a fine specimen of a Giant's Grave' (Wood-Martin, p.213). He further
states that the covering slab is 'nearly horizontal, rests now only on four supports, and
measures 1 1 feet from N. to S. by a little more than 9 feet from E. to W. It has an
average thickness of 9 inches, and the height from the ground to its upper surface is 4
feet 3 ins,' (ibid.).

Sources:
Borlase, W., 'The Dolmens of Ireland' (Vol. I, 1897)
Ó Nualláin, Séan 'Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland' Vol. V (Dublin 1985)
Wood-Martin, William, G., 'The Rude Stone Monuments of Ireland' JRHAAI (1888)
* Placenames Database of Ireland 2017
CO-ORDINATES
54 7' 41.354"N...8 39' 43.45"W