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SCURLOCKSLEAP / SEEFIN PASSAGE TOMB
The passage tomb in the town-land of Scurlocksleap, (*Léim an Scorlógaigh meaning
'Scurlog's leap' **) but more popularly known as Seefin passage tomb, is located on
the summit of Seefin Mountain, ('Cnoc Suí Finn meaning the 'Hill of Fionn's seat')
east of the R759 & Blessington (*Bhaile Coimín, meaning 'the town of Coimín') or
(*Baile Comaoin(e), meaning ‘the town of the blessing’) in the west of the Wicklow
mountains. The monument, not marked on early editions of the OS maps, consists of a
circular cairn, 24.6m in diameter & 3m in height, surrounded by a kerb of large
boulders set end to end and covers a narrow lintelled passageway and a chamber with
double transept. The passageway, 11m in length and orientated roughly NE-SW, is
constructed of erect orthostats & simple covering slabs, composed of local granite with
the odd block of quartz. The chamber is a rough oblong shape, with a corbelled roof,
4m in length & 1.5m in width and set at an angle to the passageway. Off the chamber
are five recesses, two on each side and one at the end and unlike Loughcrew, these
recesses do not share a partition wall. Two of the recesses on the western side are
marked off from the central chamber by sill-stones set on edge. There is also a peculiar
recess in the shape of a triangle, 2.15m in length by 1.2m in depth, just at the junction
of the chamber and the passageway. The monument was excavated by R.A.S. Macalister
in 1931 with the help of Dr. P.T. Walshe, Mr. L Price & Mr. O’Doherty (UCD) and Mr.
Barry Mason the photographer. The excavation produced no evidence of burials or
finds but two of the side-stones in the passageway were discovered to be decorated with
neolithic passage tomb art. Macalister & Price returned in 1937 to get illustrations.
The 1st stone is the 4th stone on the right-hand side as you enter, and measures 1.27m
in height by 0.74m in width at the base, tapering toward a point. The ornamentation
consists of a combination of lozenges and oblique lines. The 2nd stone, the next stone
on the same side, is more irregular in out-line, and measures 1.33m in height by 0.92m
in width at the base, but suddenly & sharply narrows at a height of c. 0.60m. It is at this
narrowing part, there is a lozenge, with a pair of lines forming an angle projecting
from the lower side. There are two more peculiar carvings that were discovered. On one
of the upper stones of the roof at the northern end of the western side, is described by
Macalister as ‘a block of granite and it bears upon it, in five lines, a hand symbol’
(Macalister, p.313). Also, there is a neatly carved equal-armed cross, with expanding
ends, on the north exposed end of one of the removed roof-slabs. A ‘Christian symbol
and certainly not modern and was probably carved by those who rifled the chamber’
(Macalister, p.313).

** refers to the old crossing place between the town-lands of Ballysmuttan (*Baile
Smután, 'town of the stock or stumps of trees') & Scurlocksleap.

Sources:
Macalister, R.A.S., ‘A burial carn on Seefin Mountain, Co. Wicklow’, JRSAI Vol. LXII
(1932)
Macalister, R.A.S., ‘Two carved stones in the Seefinn Carn’, JRSAI Vol. LXVII (1937)
'Archaeological Inventory of County Wicklow' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1997).
* Placenames Database of Ireland 2016
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SCURLOCKSLEAP-SEEFIN PASSAGE TOMB CO. WICKLOW
CO-ORDINATES
53 2' 59.944"N...6 14' 8.601"W