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Ruined megalithic tomb at Finner by Wakeman.
The ruined cairn in the sand dunes near Finner army camp, just north of Bundoran. The illustration, by William Wakeman, is all that remains of this small cluster of megalith monuments.

The lost monuments at Finner.

During his time researching and painting ancient monuments in Sligo, William Wakeman illustrated an interesting complex of megalithic remains at Finner. The monuments are located on the army camp firing range at Finner, so it is not possible to visit them. However, Kevin Mc Donald, while stationed in Finner, wrote a paper on the lost monuments, which can be accessed online.

Another view of the
                  ruined monument in the sand dunes near Finner.
Another of the ruined monuments, possibly a court cairn.

The monuments, first noted by antiquarians in the 1870's, were well known to local people, and one was known as Muldoon's Grave. The landowner, Col. Ffolliott sold the land to the War Department, and the monuments were dismantled for building materials, much to the disgust of the locals.

It may be news to some that close to our camping ground is an old Irish Cairn, in which it is supposed many of the chiefs of Ulster were preserved and owing to the exertions of the Royal Society of Ireland, was preserved during the levelling of the Camp. Close beside this is a large square set, surrounded by high stones, which is pointed out by the inhabitants as the grave of the famous Irish Giant Fin Macoul, but whether this be true or not a great deal of attraction is centred in it.

L.J. Emerson, 1898.

Eamon Cody's report from the Megalithic Survey of Ireland is reproduced below.

The Fairy Bridge at Bondoran, close to the Finner megaliths.
The Fairy Bridge at Bondoran, close to the Finner megaliths.

DG107-106: FINNER

Description: The remains of a cruciform passage tomb survive here. The end chamber, to the north, the western side chamber and part of the opposed eastern side chamber are exposed. The endchamber is c. 1.5 meters long internally and widens from l meter at its outer end to 1.5 meters near the backstone. The western side chamber is c. l meter long and 0.8m wide, and the eastern one appears to have been of similar size.

Unauthorised digging at the site in 1955 uncovered burnt and unburnt bone (information from the late P.J. Hartnett, National Museum, Dublin). Hartnett noted a low round mound c. 18 meters in diameter around the structure.

          ruined monument in the sand dunes near Finner.
A monument in the sand dunes near Finner army camp, looking south to Benwisken and Benbulben.

Herity (1974, 216) has suggested that a 'ruined cromleac' drawn by Wakeman (1878-82, 58) may be one and the same as a 'rude cist, 14 feet 6 inches [c. 4.4m] long by 6 feet [c. 1.8m] in breadth' noted by Wood-Martin (1887-8, 158-9; 1888, 161) and that the monument may have been a passage tomb (his Dg. 15).

It now appears that the 'ruined cromleac' in Wakeman's drawing is the monument described here and that the 'rude cist' referred to by Wood-Martin is the unlocated court tomb (Dg. 57) in this townland. Wakeman 1878-82, 58 (sketch); Wakeman 1896, 299 ('The cromleac stands, isolated, at a considerable distance from the great carn' seems to refer); Borlase 1897, 238 and sketch fig. 223 on p. 237; Lockwood 1901, 89 ('Another one, near the military wagon camp' seems to refer); Anon. 1956 (photograph); de Valera 1960, 71, fn. 224; O'Nualláin 1968b, 23, no. 24; Herity 1974, 216, Dg. 16; O'Nualláin 1983a, 37, no. 88; SMR 1987, 107:106 may refer; O'Nualláin 1989, 128.

The above description was published in the 'Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland. Volume VI, County Donegal.'

Compiled by: Eamon Cody (Dublin: Stationery Office, 2002).

© Ordnance Survey Ireland; © Government of Ireland.

          ruined cairn in the sand dunes near Finner.
Another version of the illustration above, which clearly shows the open entrance to the chamber, with a large lintol stone. The standing stone may be the remains of a stone circle. Again, the illustration is by William Wakeman.