Greetings from Ireland. I hope you all had a good week. So this week it’s time to get back on the road. Our journey this week will take us back to megalithic Ireland as we take a tour of some of my favorite Irish dolmens. I am fascinated that these structures were first of all constructed by bare human hands. But also that some of them have been standing for over 5000 years!
The word dolmen means stone table and is derived from 2 Breton words. dual meaning table and maen meaning stone. Dolmens consist of a portal entrance and a large capstone balancing on top. While they were largely erected to commemorate the dead, they were also used as a the centerpiece of ceremonial rituals.There are in the region of 190 dolmens in Ireland. Many of them are situated in the eastern part of the country. So let’s get on the road and do some ancient sightseeing!
Lulu’s Top 5 Irish Dolmens
1. Poulnabrone Dolmen
Poulnabrone Dolmen is one of the most awe-inspiring of Irish dolmens. This is because first of all of it’s amazing location. Poulnabrone Dolmen stands majestically on a high plateau in the heart of the awesome Burren in county Clare. It is also thought to be in the region of 5,800 years old! Archaeologists revealed that 21 people were buried in the main tomb. They also revealed that the tomb had been in continuous use for some 600 years!
2. Rostellan Dolmen
We’re heading to county Cork now to visit one of Ireland’s most unique dolmens. Rostellan Dolmen stands in the tidal waters of Saleen Creek in Cork harbour. Most other Irish dolmens stand firmly on dry land! The dolmen would have been originally constructed on the shore of the creek. The dolmen has gradually become submerged over time due to rising sea levels. Another unique feature of this tomb is that it opens to the east. Most tombs face west to align with setting sun.
In Irish mythology dolmens are also known as Diarmuid and Grainne’s beds. There is a particular tale attached to the Rostellan dolmen. It is said that Diarmuid and Grainne ran away from Fionn McCumhaill to elope. On their journey they slept under the tomb at Rostellan. Fionn then had a vision of the couple lying under a stone covered in seaweed and assumed that they had drowned at sea.
3. Brownshill Dolmen
Next up, it’s Brownshill Dolmen in county Carlow. Brownshill is Ireland’s largest dolmen. The colossal capstone weighs a whopping 103 tonnes. Two portal stones support the capstone at the elevated end. It is believed to have been constructed between 4900 and 5500 years ago. An unspoiled landscape of peaceful meadows surrounds this awesome monument. An undeniable connection to our ancient past.
4. Proleek Dolmen
Time to head to county Louth. This is one of the finest examples of a megalithic tomb in Ireland. Proleek Dolmen is situated in the grounds of the Ballymascallon Hotel on the Cooley Penisinsula. The massive roof stone measures 3.2m x 3.8m! It is still a mystery how these ancient people were able to move such a weight. Local legend has it that a Scottish giant, Parrah Boug McShagean carried the capstone to Ireland. You ‘ll also notice many small pebbles on top of the dolmen. This is the result of another piece of local folklore. If you toss a stone on top of the tomb and it stays there, your wish will certainly be granted!
5. Knockeen Dolmen
We’ll finish our journey this week at the impressive Knockeen Dolmen in Tramore county Waterford. Considered one of Ireland’s finest dolmens, it stands at an overall height of 3.5 meters. Whats more, it boasts not one but 2 capstones!
Time to sign off now. I hope you enjoyed out trip around megalithic Ireland. Shop below for the best of Ireland from The Irish Store. Remember to use BLOG10 at the checkout to get a 10 % discount sitewide!
See you next week,
Slán go fóill!