The “Morton God Dolmen” as it is known locally, is an impressive archaeological monument set in the ancient area of Eskaheen/Iskaheen. In the Irish language ‘Uisce Chaoin’ translates to mean “Pure Water”.The name is thought to have originated from a holy well in the area that had curative powers.
Inishowen’s Largest Portal Tomb
The monument pictured above is located 3km North West of Muff Village and 3km from the West side of the inner end of Lough Foyle. On a visit to the site you will notice that there are commanding views of Eskaheen Mountain and Lough Foyle. A Portal Tomb, as it is described in archaeological terminology, is constructed with two large upright stones forming the entrance or portal to a single chamber with a large capstone or roof stone resting on top of the supporting portal tombs. This example has a partially collapsed capstone, which you can see in the video above is split, possibly due to its size which is thought to weight around 30 tonnes! This Portal Tomb is the largest in the Inishowen Peninsula and one of the biggest in the wider area of County Donegal.
In the 1940s the site was recorded by Mabel R. Colhoun (1905-1992), who was, at the time, carried out a pioneering survey of heritage in the region. During her survey Mabel noted that the site had another name associated with it “The Grey Rock Dolmen” and recorded the remains of a cairn at the base of the monument. A cairn is taken from the Irish word “carn” which means a “heap or pile of stones”. The picture above was taken by Mabel in the 1930s during a group outing to the Peninsula. The Mabel Colhoun Archive is in the care of the Tower Museum in Derry City. This fascinating collection offers a unique look, through its documents, photographs and artefacts, at the Heritage of Inishowen.
The origins of the name “Morton God Dolmen” is unclear, but what has been determined by archaeologists are sites like the Eskaheen Portal Tomb, pictured above, would have been used to house the remains of important members of the community at the time. The age of these sites vary but largely they date to the Neolithic Period between 3800 to 3200 B.C.The Inishowen Peninsula houses a variety of significant archaeological and historic monuments that you can discover and experience during your stay.Inishowen Heritage