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Cairn R at Loughcrew
Cairn S and Cairn T viewed from the ruined remains of Cairn R.

Loughcrew - Cairns R and R1

Little remains of these two monuments, to the southwest of Cairn T. Cairn R is quite ruined, and perhaps measured 10 meters in diameter. Rotherham dug the mound in 1895, but found nothing of note.

He had more success at Cairn R1, which is about 8 meters in diameter. When Conwell saw it in 1865, there were 10 kerbstones in place with 5 more nearby. Rotherham found no stones remaining within the kerbs, but reckoned it had had a cross shaped chamber. He found one engraved stone, which may be the stone on display in the National Museum, which is labelled as coming from Loughcrew, but does not indicate which cairn it came from.

From Rotherham's report:

A number of fragments of urns, from 3 to 1 inch thick, are blackened by fire on the inside. Nearly all are ornamented with lines or dots, probably made with a piece of wood more or less pointed, and from these patterns I have been able to divide the fragments into five groups, each of which represents a different urn. One is ornamented with the herring-bone pattern, another with parallel lines, and the remaining three with rows of dots, variously applied. By far the greatest part of each urn is missing, but I was fortunate in obtaining portions of the rims of five, of different designs, which leave no doubt as to there being at least that number of urns in the cairn.

Among the objects found were the fragments of about a dozen pegs made from the tines of antlers. Not one was perfect, but their general appearance probably resembled that of large nails. The heads of some are nearly hemispherical in shape, and of others more the shape of a dish-cover. The largest specimen, which has been broken in half, and of which the pointed end is missing, is 5 inches long, and its head 9/10ths of an inch in greatest diameter, that of the shank being 6/10ths, where it joins the head. The diameter of the head of the smallest is half an inch. There are also a number of points of tines, which I suppose were broken off from the head above described.

Settings at Cairn T.
Settings outside Cairn T.

Besides these there are two or three gouge-shaped, pointed, bone objects, from 1 to 2 inches long, and from 1/3 to 1/5 an inch wide. These are only the pointed ends, and have been broken off from what probably served as handles to them. Three stone pendants were found near each other in the western part of the excavation. The largest of them is 9/10ths of an inch long, by 4/10ths of an inch in diameter, the smallest 3/5ths of an inch by 2/5ths of an inch. The latter is worn rather flat, probably from friction against others during wear. A fourth was afterwards found in some of the debris that had been thrown out of the cairn.

View to Carnbane from Patrickstown Hill to the east.
View to Carnbane from Patrickstown Hill to the east.


Thirteen beads were recovered. Of these, two are made of stone or composition, and are ornamental in shape; seven of the same material approach, more or less, nearly to a sphere, slightly flattened and drilled through its least diameter. Three others, of bone, are more egg-shaped, their perforations being through the greatest thickness of material, and one, also of bone, is cylindrical, 3/5ths of an inch long, by 2/5ths of an inch in diameter. The largest of the spheroidal variety is 3/5ths of an inch in its greatest diameter, and 2/5ths of an inch in its least. The smallest is 1/3 of an inch by 3/10ths of an inch diameter. Half a rock crystal, which has been drilled, and used as a bead, was also found, as were the fragments of two bone beads. A black flake of flinty stone suggests an arrow-head, but it is only worked a little on one side, and its curvature would seem to render it unsuitable for such a purpose.

An engraved stone within the passage of Cairn T.
An engraved stone within the passage of Cairn T.

A flat, oval, bone object, which, if perfect, would be 1 4/5ths inches long, by 7/10ths of an inch wide, has a hole bored through it near one end. It is similar to a number of bone flakes found in Cairn H, when it was opened in 1865. A piece of bone, formerly cylindrical, and about 1 3/5th inches long, by 1/4 of an inch, is ornamented by well-cut spiral lines round it. A bone object, of uncertain use, is 1 2/5ths inches long, and has a knob, 2/5ths of an inch in diameter at one end. It has been broken off at its thinnest part, where a hole had been drilled through it. Part of some curved object, perforated at one end, is made of dark-grey material, the nature of which I am unable to determine. A rounded cone-shaped object, slightly concave underneath, might have been the end of the handle of some weapon or implement.

Besides the above articles, I came upon a very small black celt, polished, but unfortunately chipped. This, I think, may have been a toy, as some of the bones in the cairn being those of a child, give a certain degree of probability to the idea. A few fragments of flint flakes, more or less injured by fire, and six white sea pebbles, complete the list of finds.

A barbed-and-tanged arrowhead (illustrated by Coffey in 1897) is recorded in a footnote.

View from Cairn R
Cairn T, Cairn V and Patrickstown Hill viewed from the ruined remains of Cairn R1.