Articulating Space and Ritual in the Irish Passage Tomb Tradition

 Loughcrew Passage Tomb Cemetery, Co. Meath.

One of the most distinctive details about the Irish passage tomb is that the monument type commonly appears in groups. This circumstance allows us to examine the development of the monument as well as the development of space in a complex of monuments which was arguably also shaped to facilitate ritual activity.

There are four major complexes in Ireland and the monuments in their groups appear to have been arranged in variations of spatial configurations which are shared. This project aims to look closer at these spatial patterns and the regional chronologies which underpin the development of the monument and the space of the complex. This project will also examine strategies of enclosure, the construction of performative arenas and the inclusion of architectural details which manipulate the encounter with the space of the complex on an increasingly formalised scale.

It is hoped that this project will further our understanding of the facilitation of ritual activity in the Irish passage Tomb Tradition by extending the focus to the exterior of the monument and augment our understanding of the connections between our four major complexes which may have developed in comparable ways due to the presence of shared belief systems.

Lynda McCormack
Galway Doctoral Research Scholar
Supervisor Dr. Stefan Bergh