|COHAW COURT TOMB
|Although referred to as a 'dual court tomb', it is two separate single court tombs, each
with two chambers, joined together by & sharing another chamber. It is sited on the
side of a ridge, in a marshy hollow c. 4km SE of Cootehill (Muinchille) north of the
R192 road to Shercock (Searcóg). There are two possible derivations of the name
Cohaw: (a) from Comhad, a grave, or (b) Coagh, a cup-like hollow. The monument has
been extensively used as a quarry and county council workmen had utilized the cairn
stones for road making shortly after the war. Local residents have related how some of
the missing orthostats are known to have been incorporated in to the structure of the
new church at Cootehill. The gallery is accurately aligned N-S and is incorporated into
a rectangular shaped cairn some 24.5m in length and an estimated 13.5m in width. The
court at the north end is U-shaped while the perimeter of the southern court describes
two-thirds of a circle. Each gallery is divided by jambs and a low sill into two
chambers, the outer chamber in each case is longer and wider than the inner. A closed
central chamber links the ends of both galleries. The monument was excavated by
Kilbride-Jones in 1949 (published 1951) and cremated and uncremated bones and some
teeth were found during the excavation which represented at least three individuals.
Part of a Neolithic pottery bowl was also recovered. The report on the skeletal remains
that were found in two chambers (3 & 5) was carried out by Prof. E. Keenan. In
chamber 3 a few young teeth were recover and Keenan concludes that 'the number and
condition do not permit of any accuracy in assessing age but certainly the individual
was under twenty years of age and probably much younger'. In the chamber 5 part of
the right side of a skull and some individual teeth were recovered. The fragment of
skull is not complete enough to permit reconstruction of a skull or of measurements to
be made. The teeth, nine in total, show incomplete roots and absence of eruption. This
Keenan concludes shows 'the specimen is that of young individual (probably male)
aged between ten and fifteen years'. Also in chamber 5 was a small quantity of
cremated bones which included limb & skull bones and 'appear to belong to a young
individual, probably of the first decade of life'. The sole find of pottery was found in
chamber 5 and consisted of almost 1 1/2 pounds of sherds. The pottery was thin, hard
and with fine grit content. It has been very thoroughly baked to a colour varying from
very dark chocolate to black. It has a pronounced carination and a rolled over rim
typical of Neolithic A*, with no decoration.
(* Neolithic A refers to the earliest pottery type in Ireland)
Kilbride-Jones, H. E. & Keenan, E. PRIA Vol. 54 Excavation Report (1951/1952, pp.
de Valera, Ruaidhrí & Ó Nualláin, Seán 'Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland'.
Volume III. (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1972).
54 26' 19.274"N...8 26' 0.052"W