LEAGAUN PORTAL TOMB
The Leagaun Portal Tomb near Claddaghduff in Galway is one of the many megalithic tombs that dot the Irish landscape, dating back to the Neolithic period (around 4000-2500 BC). These tombs were built by the first farmers who settled in Ireland, and they reflect their beliefs and practices regarding death and the afterlife.
A portal tomb, also known as a dolmen, is a type of megalithic tomb that consists of a large flat stone (capstone) supported by two or more upright stones (portal stones). The portal stones create an entrance to a chamber where the dead were buried, often along with pottery, tools, jewellery and other grave goods. The chamber was usually covered by a mound of earth or stones (cairn), but in many cases this has eroded away over time.
Portal tombs are found throughout Ireland, as well as in other parts of Europe and Asia. They vary in size and shape, but they all share the same basic design. They are among the oldest and most impressive monuments of human history, and they reveal a lot about the skills and beliefs of their builders.
The Leagaun Portal Tomb is located in a scenic area near the coast of Connemara, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the largest portal tombs in Ireland, with a chamber measuring 4m long, 1.5m wide and 1.6m tall. However, what makes it unusual is that the portal stones are quite short, compared to the size of the chamber. This suggests that the tomb was never fully covered by a cairn, or that it was deliberately left open.
The tomb is also roofless, as the capstone has collapsed into the chamber. There are traces of a cairn around the tomb, but not enough to indicate that it ever covered the whole structure. The tomb is now surrounded by vegetation and overgrowth, which makes it hard to spot from a distance.
The Leagaun Portal Tomb is not well-known or well-studied, and its history and purpose remain mysterious. It is possible that it was used for multiple burials over a long period of time, or that it had some other function besides being a tomb. It may have been a place of ritual or worship, or a marker of territory or status. It may have also been associated with local legends or folklore, such as fairy tales or stories of giants.
The Leagaun Portal Tomb is not signposted or easily accessible, so you will need to do some research and planning before you visit. The tomb is located on private land, so you will need to ask for permission from the landowner before you enter. You will also need to be careful not to damage or disturb the tomb or its surroundings.
The Leagaun Portal Tomb is a hidden gem that offers a glimpse into Ireland’s ancient past. If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure and a chance to connect with history and nature, you might want to add this portal tomb to your itinerary.
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