Poulnabrone Dolmen

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Poulnabrone dolmen, meaning “hole of the quern stones” is an ancient stone tomb in Burren, Ireland.

Origin

Poulnabrone Dolmen dates back to Neolithic Period, around 4200 and 2900BC

Appearance

The dolmen consists of a 12ft, thin, slab-like, tabular capstone supported by 2 slender portal stones, which support the capstone 1.8m (6ft) from the ground, creating a chamber in a 9m (30ft) low cairn that stabilize the tomb chamber, and would have been no higher during the Neolithic time. The entrance faces north and is crossed by a low sill stone

Builder

Local Burren community of that time built Poulnabrone Dolmen.

Discovery

A crack was discovered in the eastern portal stone in 1985.

Excavation

Soon after the discovery, excavation began and between 16 and 22 adults and 6 children were found buried under the monument. Personal items buried with the dead included a polished stone axe, a bone pendant, quartz crystals, weapons and pottery and a new born baby.

Facts

The burial chamber of Poulnabrone dolmen was 25cm deep.

Purpose

The tomb was probably a centre for ceremony and ritual until well into the Celtic period, or it may have served as a territorial marker in the Neolithic landscape.

Astronomy

Due to the Burren’s excellent dark skies and Poulnabrone’s remote location, the car park built in 2007, has been used by Shannonside Astronomy Club as an unofficial public observatory.

Significance

It is one of the most famous and most photographed Irish dolmens.

Do you Know?

The remarkable image of the sun setting through the Dolmen is one of those most commonly associated with the area.

Sunset at Poulnabrone Dolmen, County Clare

Museumization

Many artefacts, including arrowheads and axes, stone beads and broken pottery were found on the alongside, some of which are now on display in the National Museum in Dublin.

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