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The Burren: Wedge-Shaped Gallery Graves


Wedge-shaped gallery graves are very common in the Burren and at least 130 of them have been mapped and recorded. They can occur in groups of two or three such as at Gleninsheen and Parknabinnia. These box-like structures face into the west and taper to the east. They usually have two sidestones and one capstone. Sometimes they have two front stones - one permanent, the other movable to allow the burial.

Wedge-Shaped Gallery Graves
Wedge-Shaped Gallery Graves

One back stone achieved full closure. They have been striped of their former covering and would probably have had large flagstones, set on edge around the grave in a railing-like fashion. A cairn would have covered the whole structure and burial was by cremation. The Burren has attracted settlers from every successive culture that arrived in Ireland since habitation began. Limestone terrain is remarkably poor in the preservation of organic remains.

Conversely, it is the available abundance of the stone that has helped to preserve the multiple field monuments from being used as a source of building material in later times.

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