MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS
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MONGNACOOL LOWER WEDGE TOMB
This fine example of a wedge tomb is situated on a gentle south facing slope in a small
area of scrubby, boggy ground with outcropping rock beside a stream which is 10m
west of the tomb. It is located on the lower SE slopes of Cushbawn Hill, 4km NE of
Aughrim town (Eachroim) off the R753 heading towards Rathdrum and is not marked
on the 1838 Edition of the OS 6-inch map or subsequent editions. The tomb is a
rectangular chamber 4.55m in length by 1.3m in width, aligned NE-SW, which is
largely intact, defined by five side-stones at the north, two to the south, an inset back-
stone at the east end, and some earth-fast boulders. A possible forecourt at the SW end
is defined by a vertical slab with the same alignment as the chamber. There is some
outer walling on the west side including a small cist-like structure. A raised area 7.7m
wide by 7.8m in length surrounding the chamber marks the location of the cairn. A
single capstone towards the SW entrance survives. Structural stones are mostly of
granite and some greywacke, with a suitable greywacke outcrop 20m to the NE. The
structure, known locally as the 'Fairy House', was 'excavated' in 1879 by Gerrard A.
Kinahan of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland by kind
permission of the landowner of the time, W. F. Littledale, Esq., of Whaley Abbey. In his
account of the excavation, Kinahan gives very detailed measurements, description of
the soils at various depths, locations of charcoal remains found both in the main
gallery & in the cist-like structure, and a plan (see Image 11). Borlase, in his book 'The
Dolmens of Ireland' (1897), gives an account of the tomb given to him by Kinahan. He
wrote: 'In the town-land of Mongnacool, is a dolmen not marked in Ord. Surv. Maps
34 or 35. It is called ‘Labbanasigha’ in Irish, and in English, 'The Fairy's Bed'. 'Mr.
Kinahan is of opinion that this structure is allied to those in the Aran Islands in
Galway'. Although Kinahan did not perhaps adhere to what in modern terms would be
regarded as 'archaeological best practice' during his excavation at Mongnacool, he
nonetheless showed great awareness and attention to detailed, accurate recording of a
site; something that was rarely practised but for a few antiquarians in the late 19th
century and he, along with them, should be commended.
'If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' (Sir Isaac Newton
(1676)

Sources:
Borlase, William C., - ‘The Dolmens of Ireland’ Vol. I, II & III (1897)
Kinahan, Gerrard, A. - 'Megalithic Structure. Mongnacool Lower, Co. Wicklow'. The
Journal of the Royal Historical and Archaeological Association of Ireland (Fourth
Series, Vol. 5, No. 41 (Jan., 1880), pp. 253-257)
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CO-ORDINATES
52°52'26.4"N
6°16'21.3"W