MARBLEHILL WEDGE TOMBS

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The Marblehill Wedge Tombs near Abbey in Galway, are three megalithic tombs that date back to the Bronze Age, about 4,000 years ago. They are located in the townland of Marblehill, also known by the older Irish name of Gortenacuppogue, which was a pre-Celtic settlement area surrounded by other prehistoric monuments.

The three tombs are of different types: one is a portal tomb, also known as a dolmen, and the other two are wedge tombs, which are more common in Ireland. A portal tomb consists of a large roof-stone supported by two upright stones, forming a chamber that was covered by a mound of earth or stones. A wedge tomb is a long narrow gallery with a wider entrance at one end, usually facing west, and tapering towards the other end. The gallery was also covered by a cairn or a mound, and sometimes had a portico or an antechamber at the entrance.

The portal tomb at Marblehill is the most northerly of the three sites and is situated on sloping meadow land. It has a small ruined chamber with two portal stones and two side-stones on each side, but both stones at the east have collapsed inwards. There is a large roof-stone that appears to have slipped somewhat.

The wedge tombs are about 250 yards south of the portal tomb. One of them is the best preserved example of a wedge tomb in this area and has a long narrow gallery with a short portico at the west, separated from the rest of the gallery by a high septal stone. Two large displaced roof-stones lie across the middle of the gallery. The other wedge tomb is more ruined and has only two side-stones and a back-stone forming the end of the gallery at the east.

The Marblehill Wedge Tombs are not only remarkable for their age and structure, but also for their location and landscape. They offer a glimpse into the beliefs and practices of the people who built them and used them for burial and ritual purposes. They also reflect the connection between the human and natural worlds, as they are aligned with the sun and the seasons, and integrated into the rolling pasture land.

Please note that these tombs are on private land, so you will need to seek the landowner’s permission in advance before visiting. While on site you should respect the owner’s property and livestock. In addition, do not climb on or damage the tombs or leave any litter behind. 

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53.084827, -8.465679

Marblehill Wedge Tombs

GALLERY

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