This ancient burial site located at Corracloona, a small townland (parcel of land) near the village of Kiltyclogher in County Leitrim is known locally as Prince Connell’s Grave. While it may look like just a bunch of rocks in a field, this rectangular shaped "court tomb" in fact dates from the early Bronze Age (2,000 - 1500 BC). Situated on a sloping peat-land hill overlooking Lough Macnean Upper, the tomb is of considered unusual for two reasons:
- Corracloona is one of the only megalithic tombs in Ireland that has retained its entrance stone. These "door stones" are not normally a feature of court tombs.
- The tomb has a hole in this entrance stone, called a kennel hole
Kennel holes are not normally associated with Irish passage tombs -- they are usually seen in similar sites in France and Belgium.
Why a Kennel Hole?
The purpose of this kennel hole is unclear. One theory is that it served to allow subsequent burials -- the bodies could be passed through the hole. Another is that it allowed people to deliver offerings to the dead, by passing them through the hole. A third theory is that the hole allowed people to speak with (and listen to!) the dead.
Who was Prince Connell?
The origin of the name "Prince Connell's Grave" (also spelled Prince Connall) is unknown. The moniker has been handed down orally through the centuries. There are various Gaelic chieftans from the O'Connall lineage mentioned in the Annals of the Four Master -- the medieval records of Irish history. The most obvious candidate is the original Connall, King Connall Gulban, who gave his name to the province of Tír Chonaill (The land of Connall). This land evolved into modern-day Donegal, which now neighbours county Leitrim. A problem with this theory, however, is that Connal is supposed to be buried in another part of Leitrim -- a village called Fenagh, an hour's drive away, where a dolmen marks his grave. Though it may be that the Fenagh story is untrue -- that's the problem with legends!
From Kiltyclogher, take the road to Blacklion. The site is about 5 miles 7 kilometers from Kiltyclother. Look out for the small white signpost marked "Prince Connell's Grave", which is quite missable (see Street View on the map below). From the road, there is a short uphill walk to the site, which you can also see in Street View.
Prince Connell's Grave. Image by Tori Lee