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DUNNAMORE WEDGE TOMB
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DUNNAMORE Wedge Tomb
Co. Tyrone (Contae Thír Eoghain), Ireland
NISMR No. TYR 028:009

This well-preserved wedge tomb, not marked on the 1830 edition of the OS maps but
subsequently as 'Dermot and Grania's Bed' on the 1860 & 1900 editions, lies on low-
lying ground with hills to the north & east but good views elsewhere, next to a farm-
yard, 180m south of the Dunnamore Road, west of a small stream that feeds into the
Ballinderry River, (*Abhainn Bhaile an Doire, meaning 'river of the town of the oak
wood'), to the SW, in the town-land of Dunnamore, (*Domhnach Mór, meaning 'great
(early) church') and 13km WNW of Cookstown, (*An Chorr Chríochach, meaning 'the
boundary hill'). The tomb, orientated NE-SW, is 13.5m in over-all length, is built of
local schist rock with its entrance, facing SW, is still intact and consists of two sill
stones topped by a single roof-stone and a group of 3 roof-stones remain over the inner
part at the end of the gallery. A high dividing slab, 2.4m beyond the entrance, separates
the 2.7m in length and 1.8m in width antechambers from the main chamber, which
measures 4.7m in length and 1.5m in width. The end stone of the main chamber is
visible and 2 parallel stones continuing the line of the chamber to NE may indicate
further, possible architectural features, such as a side-chamber. Many of the original
kerb-stones remain in-situ marking the outer limit of the original cairn c. 25m in
length. Borlase did not visit the tomb and his entry only states that 'near a valley called
Esker, on the S. side of the high-road, is a dolmen called 'Leaba Dhiarmada agus
Grainne', not marked in Ord. Survey. Map No. 28. I have not been able to see this
monument' (p. 213). He does however, include in his magnum opus a description by the
Rev. Dr. Carter, in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Carter
writes that 'the present measurements, externally, are 36 feet from N. to S., and 18 feet
from E. to W. The internal measurements are 34 feet from N. to S., 7 feet from side to
side; the stones of which the sides of the cavern are composed rise in one place about 5
feet from the floor, and are great single blocks of whinstone apparently collected from
the mountain sides, or the river, which is adjacent. The roof is composed of large flat
stones, the weightiest about 2 tons; others averaging 1 ton each. These have been
obtained from various quarters; the heaviest is of hard slate rock; another is of
limestone; and above the whole is a slight covering of earth and sod. It is probable, as a
tradition of the locality reports, that the cavern was originally of great dimensions, as
several blocks of stone, upright and horizontal, lie adjacent, plainly correspond with
the existing remains, and the neighbouring fences are composed of rocks evidently
abstracted from the original work. On the western side appear foundations of a smaller
chamber at right angles to the main cavern, leading in the direction of an immense
monolith, about 20 or 30 tons’ weight, which seems either volcanic or fused by some
action of fire. It may be an aerophyte, and is wholly different from any rock strata in
the vicinity. The site of the cavern was raised artificially, and slopes toward the S. and
the river, which is distant about 500 yards. There are no inscriptions on the stones' (pp.
286, 287).
Sources:
Borlase, W., 'The Dolmens of Ireland' Vol. I. (1897)
Carter, H. B., ‘miscellanea', J.R.S.A.I., Vol. IV. (1894)
* Placenames Database of Ireland 2017