Books, Prehistory, Archaeologia Volume 16 Section XXVIII

Archaeologia Volume 16 Section XXVIII is in Archaeologia Volume 16.

Description of a Crom-Leach [Kilmogue Portal Tomb [Map]], in the County of Kilkenny, By Mr. Joseph Thomas Finegan. Communicated by The Marquess Townshend (age 33), and Earl of Leicester, President. Read 30th April, J SOJ.

The annexed drawing exhibits a representation of one of the most curious monuments of many similar structures, which are scattered over that part of the County Kilkenny, described by the name of the Walch Mountains, towering over the river Suir, situated between Carrick and Waterford. It is formed of a huge, unhewn block of rock, whose enormous weight is supported, in the highest part, by three large flat stones, placed perpendicularly, two of which, (the outermost) are parallel to each other, and the inner one at right angles to them: the other end of the shelving stone rests on a large horizontal flat stone, which is itself supported beyond its center, by an upright one; so that if the pressure of the higher stone was taken away, the horizontal flat one must fall to the ground. A proof of the resources, if not of the mathematical skill, of our rude ancestors, for with all the assistance of the improved machinery of the moderns, it is not probable that such ponderous masses could be raised now, and placed in similar positions, with such geometrical accuracy. The top of the shelving stone is 15 feet in elevation above the surface of the ground, by which the proportions of the profile may be known, with tolerable accuracy, and if we make due allowance for the consequent accumulation of earth around it, and the natural tendency of the materials which compose it, to assist by compression the swelling power of the earth, in the lapse of ages since its erection, we must presume, that its altitude was originally more elevated than it is at this day.

The stone, which supports the horizontal one, is bounded at its exterior edges by two large flat ones, which meet it at right angles, and are sunk along their whole length in the ground, as the three upright stones are, and the small one under the horizontal stone: as the upper end of the shelving-stone projects considerably over the upright stones that support its weight, it forms, either by accident or design, a roof to a sort of chamber, where the traditional fables of the country people say, Fin-mac-coil, kept his greyhounds.

A The large shelving stone.

b b The two side stones,

c The inner stone at right angles to b b.

d The horizontal stone, supporting the lower extremity of A.

e e The two side stones bounding that which supports D.

In addition to the above description, the writer begs leave to offer his remarks to illustrate it; at least, to attempt as much, to the extent of his acquirements. Cjiom, Crom, is a word in the Punic dialect, which signifies to bow down the body in reverential humility, as will be more amply elucidated by the following quotation from the Irish translation of St. Luke xxiv. 5.

Note. The remainder is an extended discussion of various translations and names.