MHG9027 - Clava type Cairn - Cairn Irenan


No summary available.

Type and Period (2)

  • CHAMBERED CAIRN (Bronze Age - 2400 BC to 551 BC)
  • CULTURAL ASSOCIATION (Norse - 800 AD to 1300 AD)

Protected Status

Full Description

NH55SE 10 5666 5229.
Cairn Irenan (Stone Circle) (NR) OS 6" map, Ross-shire, 2nd ed., (1907)

Carn Urnan (Carn Irenan). Clava passage-grave: the cairn material has been entirely removed. The kerb of large stones is about 42ft in diameter, and is complete except for five stones. The tallest, on S side, is 4ft high, and smallest on N is only 1ft 4ins high. The entrance passage to SSW is 2ft wide. Two lintels still remain across passage, somewhat displaced.
The chamber has been oval, 11 x 14ft; foundation course of upright slabs (1ft 8ins - 6ins high) is almost complete.
There has been a circle of monoliths, about 73ft diameter, of which only 4 remain upright, the tallest being 5ft 10ins high.
A S Henshall 1963; V G Childe 1944; A J Beaton 1882. <1>-<3>

Cairn Irenan. NSA 1845.

The remains of this chambered cairn are generally as described above. 9 boulders encircle the cairn, but only 4 remain standing in situ (A, B, F, J). Stone 'G' can be discounted as belong to the ring.
Revised at 1/2500. Visited by OS (N K B) 21 January 1965.

No change. Visited by RCAHMS (JRS) 3 March 1989.

This site lies within a private garden. A website visitor contacted us in September 2008 expressing concern over the condition of the monument and access difficulties. The comments have been referred to Historic Scotland. <4>

The cairn is one of a group of cairns along the Mulbuie ridge which are all intervisible. This would have originally been the most prominent of the cairns, placed at the high point of the west end of the ridge.
Cairn Irenan is associated in local folklore with later burials, one version being that Irenan was a Norse warrior, slain in a nearby battle. There is no documentary evidence for such a burial, and concentrations of small cairns such as clearance cairns often have such folklore associations. <5>

Information from a participant on the Black Isle Heritage Memories project; referred to locally as The Druid's Circle. <6>

Sources/Archives (19)



Grid reference Centred NH 5666 5229 (80m by 80m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH55SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (2)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.