Deerpark Court Tomb

Wakeman drew this image of Deerpark's central court tomb on July 30th 1879, as well as drawing a plan of the monument.

What the image immediately conveys are the lack of trees and the presence of the three lintels over the entrances into the three galleries that make up this particular monument . Two of these lintel stones fell in the 1920s and now lie next to the entrances. The existing lintel, already cracked in Wakeman's time, has cracked further and is in danger of collapse.

This large and imposing monument is considered by many as being the best example of its type in Ireland. It occupies a commanding position on the summit of a limestone ridge overlooking Lough Gill and is surrounded by dramatic karst mountain scenery, now hidden by a forestry plantation.

A central court tomb is a variant of court tombs that dates to the Neolithic period c.4000-2500BC. In a central court the court occupies a central area with galleries leading off it.  At Deerpark there are three galleries; a pair of twin galleries at the east end and a single gallery at the opposite end of the central court area to the west, from where Wakeman did his drawing. These combine together to give a total length of 30m. An entrance passage on the south side links the court area to the edge of the remaining kerb stones.

Each of the three galleries is divided into two burial chambers by jamb stones. The site was unscientifically excavated in the late 19th century and human and animal bones, mainly those of deer, were found.  The monument is located in the former deer park of the Wynne family of Hazelwood House and was a large walled area used to house the deer herd belonging to the Estate. The townland name is Magheraghanrush, Machaire an Ros, the plain of the wood, while the monument is called Leacht Con Mhic an Ruis - The Grave of Con, The Son of Ruis, whose legendary identity has not been established.

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