|BALLYNAMONA LOWER COURT TOMB
52 0' 13.759"N...7 34' 55.256"W
|This court tomb in Ballynamona Lower, 'Baile na Móna Íochtarach', the most
southerly on the island of Ireland, is located on top of a small headland, with sea-cliffs
to the east & to the south, SSE of the town of Dungarvan, 'Dún Garbhan', Co.
Waterford. The monument, marked on the 1834 OS map as 'Dolmen', is known locally
as 'Caille Beara' (Power p.64). The roughly oval cairn & the chamber are so orientated
that the fore-court and chamber-entrance face due west. The chamber is built of Old
Red Sandstone rock making a gallery 3.95m in length of two chambers with two
portal-stones and a septal-stone opening to the west where a court, 5.5m in width is
represented by four stones. Excavations in 1938 recovered fragments of cremated bone,
two pottery vessels, one of which was decorated, and flint flakes. Five large sherds of
pottery, red in color with patches of grey, were found close to orthostat 4 in
compartment B. They were decorated with herring-bone pattern & broad horizontal
grooves. Natural flint flakes of the battered beach type were numerous in both the
chamber & in the cairn. However, there are only three flakes showing any traces of
human working, two of which may have been intended as 'hollow scrapes'. A small
stone disc, made of a fine grained piece of Old Red Sandstone was recovered in the
corner between orthostats 2 & 4 in compartment B of the chamber. A similar large
stone disc was recovered from Moylisha, Co. Wicklow ( ) (Powell p.269). Although the
semi-circular facade of the forecourt is simiar to the NE Ireland type of tombs, the
segmentation of the chamber is unknown in Ireland but similar to the Gallery grave in
Morbihan, France. Elaborate decoration of the Ballynamona sherds also indictate a
NE France influence. However, it is generally agreed that the semi-circular facade
forecourt is a regional development centred in the NE of the British Isles. Powell
concludes that 'it may be said that the Ballynamona tomb is an isolated hybrid type in
the south of Ireland. It is possible however, that the cultural back-ground of this tomb
was analogous to that found in the NE of Ireland' (Powell p.270).
T. G. E. Powell, T.G.E., 'Excavation of a megalithic tomb at Ballynamona Lower, Co.
Waterford' JRSAI Seventh Series, Vol. 8, No. 2 (1938, pp. 260-271).
Canon Power ('The Place-names of the Decies' (p.64)