Guide to Waterford Monuments

 

 

Court Tombs

 

The term 'Court-Tomb' is used to describe this type of monument where a courtyard area is usually found at the entrance to the chambers. This courtyard which was a roofless U shaped or oval area, was possibly used as a place for burial rites or religious ceremonies.

The burial gallery which is divided by jambs or sill stones into two, three or four chambers, would have originally been covered by a low corbelled stone roof.

Cremations probably took place in the court area, though inhumations have also occurred.

 

There is over 400 Court Tombs in Ireland and the one and only example  in Waterford can be found at Ballynamona (above) in the Ring Gaeltacht. The tombs are thought to be the earliest burial tombs in Ireland.