Monday, 11 February 2013

Lackaduv/An Leaca Dhubh, the "turtle", wedge tomb/tuama Dingeach, Near Macroom, Cork

Two roads after the R582 between Macroom and Millstreet on the slope of a hill is this unassuming monument. Its situated on the last turning left before the signed Scrahanard megalithic complex if your coming from the Millstreet direction. Lackaduv is actually the name of the 303 metre high hill which this wedge tomb sits on its northern slope in a field by the road. Lackaduv is from the Irish 'An Leaca Dhubh', Leaca according the Flanagans (Irish Place Names 2002) means flat sloping surface, like a cheek ( can also mean human cheek), describing a type of hill, so lackaduv would probably translate as the flat black sloping hill. The glen below this monument is from the tributaries of the Awboy river that have cut into the mountains feeding the main course of the river. The hill is on one of the south west slopes of  the Boggeragh mountains, further to the west you get the start of the Derrynasaggart mountains, but not much of that is visible here with the main focus on the start of the Boggeraghs, which this little tomb seems to point to.

This tomb is usually called Lackaduv 2, as there is another Lackaduv wedge tomb on the southern slope of this hill (which I did a drawing of previously). Lackaduv 1 is actually just accross the road from the Scrahanard megalithic complex, which contains a wedge tomb, cairn and standing stone. So this area is rich in prehistoric monuments as is the whole greater mid north west Cork area. I have to say this is one of my favourite tombs, as it is tiny, the smallest I have seen, probably less than a half a metre in height but it has such a strong character. It has an appearance of a turtle waddling along in the grass, making me think it should be nicknamed "the turtle". Besides the unusual look of the tomb, there is also a magnificient view from it, with the glens unfolding below and the Boggeraghs towering above. Not many of the support stones are visible in the tomb, making me think that some had been covered by earth, also on its east side, the tomb has unfortunately collapsed.

The megalith builders would have had access to fast transport via rivers and seas, which were the highways of their day, but for the majority, life would have been pedestrian, mostly lived within walking distance. This would have imbued the landscape around them with so much more meaning, as they were exactly the same biologically as we are now, but our attention is much more dispersed, being often more aware of the wider world than our local. Also all that time and energy we spend reading books, on the internet, watching tv, all that active mental power would have been spent locally and in their social groups by them. Landscape has been found in some oral cultures to be both memory and history for that culture, hard for us to imagine as the landscape is more of a background to our daily activities and our human constructions these days. These stone monuments must have been amazing features, in a world without permanent knowledge like writing, these eternal things, made of the building blocks of the earth, must have been reminders of their heritage. In the past the landscape would have been a much different experience, now its mostly farms and fairly open, back then, it would have been thick with dense forests with these monuments standing out strongly in patches of forest clearance.

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