Enniscrone Archaeology


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Megalithic Tombs

Megalithic Tombs

Megalithic Tombs

Enniscrone’s oldest and most important archaeological monuments are undoubtedly the remains of at least two megalithic tombs located in the town. They are situated on the top of the ridge, in Castle Field, just west of the castle remains, overlooking Enniscrone and Killala Bay. They have probably been there for at least 5000 years - and according to the some academic thinking could even be 7000 years old or more.

There are two circles of large stones, the remains of passage tombs, unfortunately now separated by a field boundary wall, with other large stones, some in formation, located very near-by. They are the remains of large stone built communal burial monuments where human remains, both bodies and cremations were probably placed. The stones may have been arranged as simple circles of large free standing stones or according to archaeological sources they were more likely the kerbing stones of large cairns; the stones of which have since been scattered or removed. Nonetheless these megalithic tombs demonstrate that there was significant human settlement in the Enniscrone area from the earliest prehistoric times onwards - possibly pre-dating the Ceide Fields settlement accross the bay.

As man progressed from hunter-gatherer to begin to farm they began to build these stone burial monuments. There are 4 main types of megalithic tombs: the court tombs, portal tombs, passage tombs and wedge tombs. Precise dating of the tomb remains in Enniscrone is uncertain - however recent research on similar tombs, in Co Sligo, has provided evidence of existence about 5400 BC - some 7500 years old. Wedge tombs are thought to date from about 2500 BC. There are many examples of megalithic tombs throughout Co Sligo, including large concentrations in Carrowmore and Carrowkeel, however the tombs in Enniscrone must also have been important in their own right.

Without archaeological research it is difficult to determine how the tombs in Enniscrone may have looked, or what other structures may have existed; but their continued existence is not only of great interest and intrigue, but also of valuable historical and educational importance. When standing by these impressive megalithic stone circles looking out over Killala Bay one must appreciate the beauty of the setting and imagine the significance of this site over 5000 years ago and its influences since then.


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