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Cruachain - Dathí's Stone Barrow
 

County

Roscommon

Coordinates

N 53° 47' 37.1"   W 008° 18' 10.2"

Nearest town

Tulsk

Grid Ref.

M 80092 82703

Map No.

33

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

140

Date of visit

Saturday 7 June 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The barrow with the standing stone in its centre seen from the east-southeast while approaching it.


Cruachain, or Cruachan, is one of the most important ancient sites cited in Irish literature and history. It was a place of assembly and the burial ground for many Irish kings. It was also used as a site for ritual gatherings and ceremonies and probably it was also the residence for some of the kings. Cruachain is a large area of about 10 square kilometres and includes 19 enclosures, 27 burial mounds, pillar stones and standing stones and some other earthworks. Some of them are still clearly visible in the landscape, others have been flattened or erased by the human activities over the centuries and can be detected only by an aerial inspection.
Cruachain appears in the irish mythology as the seat of Ailill and Medb, respectively king and queen of Connacht in the Ulster Cycle. The site is the setting for the opening of the famous legendary tale of the Táin Bó Cúailnge.

This monument has a double identity, it's both a barrow and a standing stone. The stone pillar in the centre of the barrow is said to mark the burial place of Feradach Dathí, also known as Nath Í, High King of Ireland who died around 445, allegedly the last pagan king of Ireland. The barrow has a diameter of about 28 metres and is enclosed in a bank and surrounded by a ditch.
The pillar is also known with the name Coirthe Dearg because it's made of red sandstone. It's 1.85 metres tall, 1.39 centimetres wide at the base but only 75 centimetres wide at the top, and 28 centimetres thick. The narrow sides are aligned north-south (10°-190°).
From the stile we walked for 420 metres towards the west.
At the barrow we found a group of cows and two bulls, but they were harmless and walked away as we were approaching the site.
The two bulls, one dark and one white, were quite like the two bulls Donn Cúailnge and Finn Bennach which fought at Rathnadarve.


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