|BALLYBRITTAS PORTAL TOMB
|This magnificent portal tomb in the town-land of Ballybrittas (*Baile Briotáis meaning
'town of the speckled land'), 2km WSW of the village of Bree (*Brí meaning 'a hill'),
5km SE of the town of Clonroche (*Cluain an Róistigh meaning 'the meadow of Roche
& and 9km SW of the town of Enniscorty (*Inis Córthaidh). The tomb, marked on all
editions of the OS maps as 'Cromlech', is located 500m south of the Boro River,
'Abhainn Bhoru', which rises in the west on the eastern slopes of Slieve Baun and joins
the River Slaney (Abhainn na Sláine, meaning 'river of health') further to the east, in a
wide, long valley. The tomb is complete and is sited in a small wooded copse on an east
facing slope. The tomb is one of only two in County Wexford, the other being the
neglected tomb at New Baun (WX035-052). The tomb is east facing and consists of a
capstone, two fairly-well matched portal stones, side stones, back stone and door stone.
The thin greenstone capstone, which measures 3.7m in length, 3.4m in width and
0.60m in depth, has slipped slightly back off the portal stones and is leaning very
heavily on the back stone and protrudes about 0.50m over the edge. There is also a very
large fissure running along the south side of the capstone, approx; 1m in length. The
portal stones are 2m & 1.8m in height and lead into a 2.4m long, narrow chamber
which is just over 1m in width and is 0.40m below the surrounding ground level. The
quarter height door-stone, 0.55m in height, is still in place, as is the large back-stone.
The south side-stone remains erect, while the north side-stone is leaning heavily
inwards. The whole tomb is surrounded by the remains of the subcircular cairn which
is 20m in diameter and 2m in height. In June 1911, W.H. Grattan Flood, accompanied
by Very Rev. Canon Sheil & Rev. William Martin, examined the tomb at Ballybrittas.
'The old monument' writes Grattan Flood, 'has never apparently been touched, and is
still in magnificent preservation: in fact, it is one of the most perfect specimens of its
class in Ireland' (Grattan Flood, p. 13). He states that 'it is situated south-west by
north-east on an eminence. The table rests on three stones - two in front and one at the
back - and should weigh about seven tons. Inside the height is six feet' (ibid.). Grattan
Flood also gives an account of a semi-circle of stones about 2m from the tomb,
indicating possible revetment or kerbing of a mound. Borlase states that 'in the
Townland of Bree (Brea), and Parish of Clonmore; near the River Slaney, to the W. ;
about four miles and a half S. of Enniscorthy, is a dolmen not marked in Ord. Surv.
Maps Nos. 25 or 31' (Borlase, p.416-417).
Borlase, W., 'The Dolmens of Ireland' (Vol.II 1897)
Grattan Flood, W.H., 'County Wexford Dolmens' J.R.S.A.I. Vol. 2 (1912)
* Placenames Database of Ireland 2017
52 25' 44.328"N...6 38' 12.668"W
|BALLYBRITTAS Portal Tomb,
Co. Wexford (Contae Loch Garman), Ireland
SMR No. WX031-010