The Tinnacarra dolmen near Boyle in Co Roscommon.

 
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A fine portal dolmen located just north of the Sligo-Dublin railway line about 3 km west of Boyle, and can be seen from the train as you head for Sligo. It is an easy site to find, and well worth a visit, as the stones are massive, with an enormous capstone. Take the Gurteen road from Boyle; park at the cottage on the right, just past a bad bend where the railway track crosses the road on an arched bridge. walk about 200 meters up the track by the cottage, and cross the track - the dolmen is just inside the field by the track.

The site has been excavated, and a polished stone axe was found here. The portals are oriented to Sheegorey (The Fairy Mound of the Sandhill), a cairn on the most easterly peak of the Curlew Mountains (picture below). An iron strut was placed in the chamber to keep a leaning orthostat in position. The capstone is massive, and is tilted quite steeply. All structural stones are of local sandstone. These types of monument were surrounded by cairns of stone, from which the capstone would have protuded. The name Tinnacarra meand Fire Stone.

This site has been threatened by huge E.S.B. powerlines, which are part of a line from Carrick on Shannon to Ballygawley. The local landowners in North Roscommon are fighting the line, which is ruining the landscape.

On a more subtle level, in his book, Pi in the Sky, Michael Poynder states that this monument is the southmost point of the Lough Arrow Earth Star, a man-made collection of Ley lines which measures 8.3 miles in diameter and incorporates most of the monuments in the region. The big line crosses the country from Newgrange to Knocknarea, and it is obvious if you look at a map, that there are an enormous amount of megalithic sites on this line, including Loughcrew, Sheemor, Sheebeg, Feenagh, and Sliabh Da Ean. Poynder says the line ends on Inishmurray island in Co Sligo.

There is a fine example of a bronze age barrow, Knockadoobrosna, beside the Boyle golf course, a few km to the south. Another huge barrow, or possibly a neolithic mound, sits atop the hill known as Carnlewey south east of Boyle. There are many barrows scattered across the Plains of Boyle. Boyle is also the headquarters of the U.F.O. society of Ireland, and the Curlew Mountains are said to have the largest number of sitings in Ireland.

A cairn on the Curlew Mountains, which overlooks Lough Key. Tinnacarra dolmen is aligned to this monument. The cairn was said to be the home to an ogre who ate a Christian for breakfast every morning. It is close to the site of the 1599 Battle of the Curlews.