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Poulnabrone                    County Clare                                            Dolmen                               Portal Tomb                                                    

Poulnabrone portal tomb County Clare on the Burren

Poulnabrone portal tomb at the Burren in County Clare is one of the world's best known and most visited dolmens.  Ireland is fortunate in having almost 200  dolmens and of course Brownshill in county Carlow is the largest.  But when the setting is taken into account, and the wildflowers of the Burren, the isolation from a built environment, the quiet, and the sheer magic are considered, Poulnabrone must come out on top. It is estimated as being 4,500 years old which places it at the end of the Neolithic and the beginning of Ireland's Bronze Age. We must not forget however, that when the dolmen was erected here 4,500 years ago the landscape probably looked very different.  There is evidence that they people who built the many tombs on the burren actually farmed the area and the Burren would have had a covering of soil with scrub, trees and grass growing there.  It was this very farming which caused the stripping away of the soil and leaves us today with the dramatic limestone landscape for which the area is famous.

 

During an archaeological excavation at Poulnabrone, uncremated remains of 6 children and approximately 20 adults were found. A polished stone axe, some bone and flint items and broken pieces of pottery were also found. See terrific short video below from Youtube ©Bob Hilscher

 

 

There is some debate among scholars as to the correct translation of the word Poulnabrone.  In Irish it is 'Poul na Brón' which can be translated as the 'hole of sorrows' and this certainly seems apt given the sorrow which is associated with death and the passing of loved ones. However the beautifully designed, official Information Board  says that it means the 'Hollow of the Millstone'.   

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