The Scrahallia Wedge Tomb near Cashel in the Connemara region of Galway is an ancient monument and one of the most complex wedge tombs in the country, dating back to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age (around 2500-2000 BC).

Wedge tombs are a type of megalithic chambered tomb that are wedge-shaped in plan, with a narrow entrance at one end and a wider chamber at the other. They are usually covered by a large capstone or several smaller ones, and often surrounded by a cairn of stones. Wedge tombs are mainly found in the west and north of Ireland, and are thought to have been used for communal burial of the dead.

The Scrahallia Wedge Tomb is located near the top of Cashel Hill, overlooking the scenic landscape of Connemara. It is situated on a man-made platform above marshy ground, and can be accessed by a short climb from the road. The tomb consists of a single gallery, about 5 meters long and 1.5 meters wide, covered by a massive capstone that weighs about 20 tons. The gallery is divided into two chambers by a septal stone, and has a small entrance at the south end, flanked by two tall stones. The walls of the gallery are made of small orthostats (upright stones) and chocking stones (smaller stones used to fill gaps). In front of the entrance, there are six evenly spaced stones in the ground, which may have been stepping stones to avoid the boggy terrain.

The Scrahallia Wedge Tomb is remarkable for its size, shape and state of preservation. It is one of the few wedge tombs that still has its original capstone in place, and it shows evidence of careful construction and engineering. The capstone is perfectly balanced on the supporting stones, and has a slight tilt to allow rainwater to run off. The gallery is also aligned with the winter solstice sunrise, suggesting that the tomb had some astronomical or ritual significance for its builders.

The Scrahallia Wedge Tomb is not well-known or signposted, and it may be difficult to find without a map or a guide. However, it is well worth the effort to visit this impressive and mysterious site, which offers a glimpse into the ancient past of Ireland. The tomb is also surrounded by stunning views of the Twelve Bens mountains, the Cashel Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, making it an ideal spot for photography or meditation.


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Scrahallia Wedge Tomb



Stumbled across it as a boy

March 27, 2024

In the late 70’s or early 80s I stumbled upon it (we used to have a cottage below it) and I mentioned it to a farmer called Tom Burke (now sadly dead) and he told me it was known locally as ‘The Alter’ as mass was held here during the time of the penal laws.

Nic Dunlop