Carrowmore 17 is tucked in a corner behind a hedge, and several of it's boulders are built into the nearby wall.

Main Page

Tour Guide

Clickable Map
Borlase's Introduction

Queen Maeve's Cairn

The Glen

Shee Lugh

Sliabh Dá Eán

Cairns Hill


Doonaveeragh Village

Caves of Kesh
Cairns Hill




Kilclooney More


Site 17

Site 17 is easy enough to miss. It is located to the south of the visitor centre, and is just behind the hedge before the cottage on the right, as you head down to the big circles 19, 26 and 27. The circle, which is 11 meters in diameter, is partly destroyed by the road. Twelve stones remain in the circle, and several others can be seen built into the wall nearby. Petrie noted an inner smaller circle. The passage and chamber open to the west, towards the centre of the complex, and there is a displaced roofslab lying nearby. Finds by Walker included a beautiful urn (below, right) and 0.5 kg of cremated bone.

Borlase: - No. I7. Situated on the other (or W.) side of the road, S. of 13 (dolmen-circle, and urn). "This circle is in part destroyed by the road. It appears to have been a double circle, with an external diameter of 40 feet. The covering stone of the cromleac has been displaced. Within its enclosure Mr. Walker found human bones and fragments of an urn. The grave, as usual, had been opened previously. The covering-stone is 12 feet in circumference." - Petrie.

The fragments of the urn found here, which constituted the upper portion of it, were presented by Mr. Walker to Petrie, and are now in the Museum of the R. I. Academy. Col. Wood-Martin thus describes the vessel, of which he succeeded in finding three other small portions: "The diameter of the vessel at its mouth is 14 inches. Its height originally must be a matter of conjecture, a part of the lower extremity being modern, and having been attached to it merely as a stand. The neck and upper portions have been divided by a narrow, raised band into two members, each of which is decorated with a chevron or wavy pattern, and a number of raised, circular bosses." The following remarks upon its construction are curious: "There would seem to have been at least three stages in the manufacture of this remarkable urn. First, a vessel of coarse, gritty matter was fashioned. This was baked in a strong fire, and burnt almost to blackness. It seems then to have been overlaid with finer material, of a buff or brick-dust colour, upon which were laid strips of the same composition, just as a modern cook would embellish a pie-crust. There can be no question but that it was in this manner that the raised ornamentation was formed. Some portion of the wavy pattern, and many of the little bosses, have fallen off. The interior of the vessel would seem to have been coated or veneered with matter less fine than that which appears on the outside. These coatings, and the attached raised patterns, were presented to the influence of a moderate degree of heat from a fire of wood or peat". The writer compares the manner in which he thinks this urn was formed with what he considers also to have been the mode employed in making urns found respectively at Toom in the Co. Cavan, and at Drumnakilly in the Co. Tyrone. In the case of an elaborately decorated urn found by me in a cairn on Morvah Hill, in West Cornwall, in a cist, with a coin of Constantius II., I observed that the raised pattern was liable to fall off and that it was of a fine yellow paste, which left exposed underneath the coarse black pottery of which the interior of the vessel had been formed. The view I formed of its construction was precisely that of Col. Wood-Martin in regard to the Carrowmore vessel.

During his further exploration on the site of the dolmen in this circle, Col. Wood-Martin also found portions of a dagger-like implement of cetaceous bone, similar to those found in 4 and 12, and which must have measured about 14 inches long; also a fossil of the limestone formation, three small fragments of white quartz, eight pieces of oyster and cockle-shells, and human and animal remains consisting of 1 lb. 2 oz. of fragmentary and calcined bones, amongst which were three human incisors, and two pieces of temporal bone (petrous portion) of skull.

From the plan of this circle and its area, it will be evident at once that the dolmen, and its passage, extended across it from the S.W. towards the N,E. opening in the ring, and expanding as it reached the centre. I believe this to have been a common, if not an almost universal feature, in the Carrowmore series, and it is one which, as I have observed, connects these monuments rather with the dolmens proper than with the passage less cairns covering cists, wholly enclosed. It was in this cromlech, if in any cromlech in Carrowmore, that the bronze-pin, or fibula, must have been found, which is stated, in the " Life of Petrie," to have been found in a cromlech at Carrowmore and in an urn. Discredit has been thrown, however, on the assertion attributed to the great Irish antiquary, and that there has been some mistake seems certain. (See Cloverhill).

Carrowmore 17, crouched under the hedge by the road in the corner of a field.