This remarkable upland limestone plateau contains 5,000 years of fascinating archaeology. While walking through the Cavan Burren Park you can encounter an array of megalithic tombs, including the ‘Giant’s Grave’, dating to around 2500 BC, as well as a promontory fort, glacial erratics, prehistoric rock art, 18th and 19th century settlements, sinkholes and the remains of a pre-glacial river.
There are a number of key features in the Cavan Burren which can be found along the park’s trails. Along the Green Trail you will find Tullygobban Wedge Tomb. The name ‘wedge tomb’ refers to its simple wedge shape, which is created by the decrease in the monument’s height and width from the front to the rear. Wedge tombs are the most numerous of Ireland’s megalithic tombs, and date to the Chalcolithic period. This period falls between the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, and is when the first copper tools and weapons began to be created and used in Ireland. Tullygobban is thought to be named after Gobán Saor, a master craftsman from Irish folklore. You can hear more about wedge tombs in this fascinating episode of Amplify Archaeology Podcast with Dr. Neil Carlin.
The Green Trail also brings you to a portal tomb, known as the Calf House. Portal tombs are also known as dolmens, and generally date to the earlier half of the Neolithic period, making this tomb likely to be over 5,000 years old. Typically they have huge capstones which are balanced on two upright portal stones at the front, and a back stone at the rear which creates a small chamber. Portal tombs are most commonly found in lowland settings, near rivers or streams. The tomb’s unusual name comes from the fact that it was reused in the 19th and 20th centuries as an animal shelter.
All along the Green Trail you can see erratics, huge boulders that were picked up by glaciers over 14,000 years ago and dropped here when the glaciers melted away. Other natural features include sinkholes, where a mighty river once disappeared underground.
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