Volunteers Needed to Help Repair the Highest Stone Age Passage Tomb in Ireland
On Saturday 30 September volunteers are being given a unique opportunity to help repair an ancient stone-age structure.
The passage tomb at the summit of Slieve Gullion was constructed over 5,000 years ago and is the highest surviving passage tomb in Ulster. However, the footsteps of many thousands of modern visitors have taken their toll and the tomb is now in need of some upkeep.
Work is urgently needed on the passage tomb to preserve the monument by relocating displaced cairn stones from the entrance and chamber back to the top of the cairn. The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, a Heritage Lottery funded programme, which conserves and enhances the region’s most treasured landscapes, in partnership with the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities, is asking for volunteers to help preserve this ancient monument.
Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew said, “This task is very much a case of many hands make light work and two years ago, when this task was done before, over 30 people helped out. This is a rare opportunity to work on a scheduled monument and I want to encourage everyone to get involved. It will be a very rewarding day”.
Volunteers are asked to meet at the first carpark on the forest drive at Slieve Gullion Forest Park at 10am on Saturday 30 September. The volunteer day will start with a fascinating guided walk to the summit before the group starts the rewarding task of rebuilding parts to the tomb and repairing the damage to this magnificent structure.
The work will also repair the modern paths eroded on the side of the cairn by visitors. It is essential that this work is completed before the Winter Solstice, when the tomb’s alignment means that the light of the setting sun illuminates the passage and reaches the back of the chamber inside the cairn.
Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme Chairman, Des Murphy said, “The magic of the sun’s setting beams lighting the very back of the tomb is a unique experience, but this very magic has made the tomb a victim of its own success and unless maintenance projects like this take place the passage grave could be permanently damaged. We rely and appreciate the help of volunteers and I would like to say thank you in advance to all those who got involved”.
To register to take part in this unique opportunity, please go to www.ringoggullion.org/events or call Alison on 028 3082 8594.