Mizen Megaliths 5: Ratooragh Wedge Tomb

There are twelve wedge tombs on the Mizen, three of which are still on our list to visit. I have written about several of them in many posts, but specifically about the wedge tombs at Cappaghnacallee and Ballydivlin, and at Ballyvogebeg, while Robert has written about the most famous of our prehistoric Mizen Monuments, Altar Wedge Tomb. For a general overview of Wedge Tombs, see Wedge Tombs: Last of the Megaliths.

Today’s choice is a beautiful little example in the townland of Ratooragh, which is on the slopes of Ratooragh Mountain, north of Mount Gabriel. The location is fairly typical – on rising ground with good views in several directions.

And of course, as all well-behaved wedge tombs are, it is oriented to the west. Like Altar and Ballyvogebeg, it has Mizen Peak in its view, despite the fact that it’s a long way away and is not the most obvious point on the horizon. Perhaps, like those, it’s related to the Handsome Bres.

In the National Monuments description this tomb (CO139-024—-) is described thus: 

Chamber (L 2.2m; Wth 1.3m at W end, 0.85m at E) open to SW, covered to E by single roofstone. N and S sides each formed of one slab decreasing in height from W-E; inset backstone at E end, backed to E by parallel slab of equal width and height. Small buttress-stone stands at E end S side; prostrate slab to W of chamber may be displaced roofstone. Traces of mound to N of chamber.

In actuality, the ground is so tufty that it’s not possible to make out any traces of a mound. But the tomb itself is relatively intact, and immediately recognisable, with its sloping roof slab and the sidestones that are taller at the west end. There were two roof slabs, but one has fallen and is in the grass in front of the tomb.

Although off the beaten track, this one was not hard to find in the end, but took a little searching as it’s not exactly where it is shown on the National Monuments map. If you decide to go looking for it yourself, go a bit further than you think you should.

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