Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Kilmogue Portal Tomb, six thousand year of age.

harristown Tomb 2
Kilmogue Portal Tomb, county KIlkenny
Irish Landscape photography : Nigel Borrington

Kilmogue Portal Tomb

Sitting at the end of a short path near Harristown, county kilkenny, is a six thousand year old tomb, know nationally at the Kilmogue Portal Tomb but locally as, “Leac an Scail” – stone of the warrior/hero in English.

I have visited the site many times and I still find it an amazing location, the site has a sign placed near it that you can see below. It clearly states that the site has never been officially excavated, as is the case for many of these locations in Ireland. From evidence of Tombs constructed in exactly the same way around the European continent it is thought to be some six thousand years old. To put this in context , the great pyramids in Egypt were constructed around 2560 BC, so this tomb is some 1500 years older.

The tomb is constructed with a very large cap stone and side walls and it is hard to imagine just how the cap stone was lifted into place. The stones that can still be witnessed here would however have been surround by a mount of earth that has been long removed or washed away by six thousand years of rain. This earth mount would have been large maybe some 20 meters in diameter. It was likely then that the walls of the tomb were put in place first and supported with wood, then the earth mound constructed and finally the large cap stone rolled up the sides into its place and covered with more earth on top.

It is not known who’s tomb this was but the person buried here must have been considered very important in this Neolithic community, and the tomb would have acted as a place of memory for them and as was the tradition at the time the community would have held ceremonies here.

Each time I have visited I wonder just what these people where like, they were clearly pagan in their beliefs and very close to their surroundings and its nature. Life would have been completely different from the life we know, they lived and moved to the cycles of the seasons, they eat and lived from the wildlife and nature that surrounded them, in some season they would have little food. They most likely had Gods and figure heads yet we have a tendency to place our own modern religious understanding on-to what this meant to them.

It is likely that their Gods were Mythical in nature and derived from memories of real people who Mythically they created with different elements and forces of life and nature that affected the lives they lived.

List wikipedia page lists some of these Gods and Goddesses and shows the forces in life and nature that they related to.

I hope that the images below relate the Tomb and its location, the surrounding Landscape is very rural and one of county Kilkennys biggest dairy farming areas.

Leac an Scail, Image Gallery

harristown Tomb 9

harristown Tomb 8

harristown Tomb 1

harristown Tomb 2

harristown Tomb 3

harristown Tomb 4

harristown Tomb 5

harristown Tomb 6

harristown Tomb 7

15 responses

  1. Nice job Nigel. I remember stopping of here some years ago on a school trip. Great to see her still standing, although the cap stone seems to have slipped somewhat πŸ™‚

    April 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    • Hello Ed πŸ™‚

      Thank you , pleased you liked it πŸ™‚

      I have only seen it for about the last ten years Ed, so you could well be right !!!

      Its amazing that it is still up but the weight of the cap stone must have a big say in that , you would not want to be close if it does ever come down πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      April 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      • For sure,
        I was out at another recently in Brownshill in Carlow. You would not believe the size of this one, its a monster.

        Makes you wonder, how the hell these were put into place? I know there are a few plausible theories, but they would have needed every superhero from mythology to do it πŸ™‚

        April 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm

  2. Nigel your pictures are always beautiful!

    April 25, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    • Hello Wendall πŸ™‚

      Thank you very pleased that you liked them πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      April 30, 2014 at 2:17 pm

  3. Very lovely photos, Nigel, and interesting information, too.

    April 25, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    • Hello Jet πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Thank you very pleased you enjoyed πŸ™‚

      April 30, 2014 at 2:17 pm

  4. Beautiful images Nigel. : )))

    April 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    • Hello Anne πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Thank you , very pleased that you liked them and commented πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      April 30, 2014 at 2:18 pm

  5. M-R

    Those teo supporting stones would have to be sunk a huge way into the earth, eh, Nigel ? – to be able to hold up that kingstone …

    April 25, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    • Hello margaret

      Yes I think so , they would have been been the walls of the chamber πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      April 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm

  6. “Leac an Scail” sounds ever so much more poetic than “stone of the warrior hero.” Just sayin’. πŸ˜€ Beautiful images.

    April 27, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    • Hello Elen πŸ™‚

      Yes that is very true , Irish is so hard to get but it does sound more poetic πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      April 28, 2014 at 3:56 pm

  7. Fantastic post, Nigel. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that the structure is so old and yet remains standing, undisturbed. One part of me wishes someone would excavate and see just exactly what’s beneath them, but that would take away some of the allure and mystery.

    I can’t imagine how an ancient people were able to move these anywhere, let alone hoist them above other enormous stones!

    Finally, I love the idea that the ancient people found meaning in nature and lived their lives based on the cycles and seasons. Funny……….modern man seems to be moving back in that direction, at least in the U.S. Eating local, organic, home grown, etc. etc. has become quite the rage over the last decade.

    It’s a start.

    A very interesting and thoughtful post! Loved it!!

    April 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    • Hello Sharon πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      I am very pleased you like the post and the history of these places, yes it is hard to imagine how they put the cap stones onto of the rest of the structure !!!

      I think that’s true and I guess/hope we will always have a built in wish to discover our links with the nature that surrounds us πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      April 28, 2014 at 3:50 pm

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