Calf House Portal Tomb, Cavan, Ireland

The Cavan Burren is certainly one of the most unsung gems of Irish heritage destinations with most people entirely unaware of its existence. The park is located on a limestone plateau at the height of 295 metres in the shadow of Cuilcagh Mountain. It is also park of the Cuilcagh Lakeland’s Geopark which means the area is recognised by UNESCO as having exceptional geological heritage. There are many tombs dotted around the park, an area that was once planted heavily with forestry in the 1950s. The Calf House Portal Tomb, also known as the Druid’s Altar is one of the finest examples. Though the tomb is in poor condition its sheer size still leaves quite the impression. The large capstone measuring around 4 metres squared, has slipped to the east and now rest on one of the portal stones and side stones. The two portal stones both open outwards, which is an unusual feature, and measure around 2 metres in height and width. At one stage in the late 18th/early 19th century the tomb was used as a shelter for the livestock of the little farm that once stood in this area, remnants of the small farmhouse are still visible. The entrance of the tomb now forms part of a field wall and the gap between the two portal stones have been walled up with smaller stones, as have the gaps on its eastside, again one imagines to form a closed chamber to house calves.

The calf house portal tomb is certainly an enigmatic structure and along with several other tombs and an excellent interpretative centre should make the Cavan Burren park a must visit if in the area.

GPS: 54.26499, -7.88515

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