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Goward Portal Tomb
 

County

Down

Coordinates

N 54° 12' 48.0"   W 006° 05' 39.0"

Nearest town

Rathfriland

Grid Ref.

J 24297 31028

Map No.

29

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

126

Date of visit

Saturday 6 May 2006

GPS Accuracy (m)

2
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The huge portal tomb and the informative sign seen from the east.


From the B180 I turned left to drive along Goward Rd, then along a narrow lane up to the parking area in front of this giant portal tomb!
It is 5 metres tall, 4 metres long and 3 metres wide. The tomb faces east and it's estimated to be 4000 to 4500 years old. According to the informative sign the granite capstone weighs 50 tons! I wonder how they could carry such a monster up here and fit it in its position.
Not far from the portal tomb are the remains of an old house.

UPDATE: May 28th, 2019 - A new visit to this portal tomb.
The capstone of the tomb is really impressive! It has a thickness of about 1.33 centimetres on the east side and about 95 centimetres on the west end. It is estimated to weigh 50 tons and it has slipped backwards.

The overall dimensions of the monument are 3.47 metres of height on the east side, and only 67 centimetres on the west side, 2.32 metres of width and 2.70 metres of length.
The layout of the monument is a bit confused, and I think it might have been badly reconstructed in the past.
Excavations carried out in 1834 revealed a cremation urn and a flint arrowhead inside the tomb.
Some of the smaller stones at the rear have been fixed with concrete. A few outliers stone to the southeast from the entrance could be part of an arched forecourt.

The portal tomb is locally known as "Pat Kearney's Big Stone". It is likely that Pat Kearney was the inhabitant of the small thatched house that once stood a few metres to the northeast of the tomb and now is only visible as a few stones poking out the ground.

The first two photos in this page are from the visit in 2003, the remaining thirteen photos are from the visit in 2019.


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