MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS
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SRAHWEE WEDGE TOMB
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This almost complete and intact wedge tomb, marked as 'Tobernahaltora', ('The Altar
Well' because it was venerated as a holy well) on all editions of the OSI maps, is
located in the town-land of Srahwee (*An tSraith Bhuí meaning 'yellow holm or river-
meadow') at the junction of two roads, 100m east of Lough Nahaltora (*Loch na
hAltóra), 400m west of the Carrownisky River (*Abhainn Cheathrú an Uisce), 1.2km
NW of the village of Cregganbaun (*An Creagán Bán meaning 'white rock') and 6km
south of the town of Louisburgh (*Cluain Cearbán meaning 'meadow of the
buttercups'). The site enjoys fine views of the Sheeffry Hills (*Cnoic Shíofra from the
ancient family of the McShaffrys who formerly held the ground) to the south-east and
to the south, the Mweelrea Mountains (*Sléibhte Chnoc Maol Réidh meaning 'flat-
topped hillock'), is understood by the local people to mean 'the ready and smooth bald
hill' and takes its name from the smoothness and roundness of its top surface. The
roofed tomb, orientated WNW - ESE, consists of a gallery 4.2m in overall length, a
large chamber, 2.8m in length and 1.2m in width, which is covered to the greater part
by a single roof-stone, 2.4m in length, 2.10m in width and 0.20m in depth, and rests on
the gallery side-stones. The main chamber is separated by a transverse slab, 1.4m in
length, from a portico or ante-chamber 2m square. The east end of the gallery is closed
by a single back-stone 1m in height. Four erect stones form the northern side of the
tomb. A fifth, now fallen, along with one of the erect stones, form the north-side of the
portico. Five erect stones form the southern side of the tomb, with the two most
westerly forming that part of the portico. The side-stones range in height from 13m to
0.5m from east to west. A single buttress stone is visible against the south side-stones
and there is evidence of out-walling on both sides. The tomb lies in the centre of a
slight hollow in the middle of a circular mound, 10m in diameter. The flat roof-stone
was used as an altar during Penal times, giving the tomb its local name, ‘Altóir’,
meaning altar. It has a primitive incised cross on the upper surface at the south-
eastern end. Borlase, who did not visit the tomb, only noted the name of the town-land
after visiting the court tomb at Aillemore. He wrote that 'there is a Tobernahaltora,
and a Loughnahallora. This name implies the presence of an altar, so called, of some
sort, but whether a dolmen or a Christian monument, I cannot say' (Borlase, p.125). H.
T. Knox however, did visit the tomb. The 'Lake and Well of the Altar' and is so called,
according Knox, because 'being a dolmen over a holy well' (Knox, p.63). Knox
categorised it as a 'long dolmen with a porch, the inner cell cut off by a transverse slab'
and that it 'was built for pagan worship, at a remote period' (Knox, p.64).

Sources:
Borlase, W., 'The Dolmens of Ireland' (Vol. I, 1897)
de Valera, R., & Ó Nualláin, S., 'Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland' Vol. II.
County (Dublin, 1964)
Knox, H. T., 'Tobernahalthora, near Louisburg', J. R. S. A. I., Vol. 9, (1899)
* Placenames Database of Ireland 2017
CO-ORDINATES
53 42' 21.869"N...9 49' 30.098"W