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Ireland 6. The Poulnabrone Dolmen, County, Clare, Ireland

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This prehistoric archaeological Neolithic site is on the R480 road running north to Ballyvaughan.

 

Glacial erratic - Car drive from Kilfenora to Ballyvaughan, The Burren, County Clare, West of Ireland

The Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen (distant top right) lies on the limestone pavement of The Burren, County Clare. The huge stone in the foreground is a glacial erratic, 'dropped' when the glacier's retreated at the end of the last ice age.

 

Poulnabrone Dolmen, archaeological site in the Burren: Poulnabrone dolmen stands on a limestone pavement of the Burren hills and must be the most photographed archaeological site in Ireland! In the foreground is a large limestone rock left behind by the last glacier to cover the Burren!

 

Poulnabrone Dolmen, archaeological site in the Burren: It is a Neolithic ritual-burial site dating from about 2500 BC, i.e. over 4500 years old.

 

Poulnabrone Dolmen, a prehistoric burial tomb - Car drive from Kilfenora to Ballyvaughan, The Burren, County Clare, West of Ireland

The striking starkness of the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a prehistoric burial tomb. From excavations in the 1980's artefacts such as a polished stone axe, carved quartz crystals, perforated bone pendant, stone disc beads, sherds/fragments of course pottery and flint arrowheads and scrapers were found. The bones of 33 individuals were found of male and female, old and young and were probably put in the tomb around 3000 BC. Burials were radiocarbon dated to 4200 to 2900 BC (Neolithic or New Stone Age) and 1767 to 1423 BC (early Bronze Age).

 

 

Poulnabrone Dolmen, a prehistoric burial tomb - Car drive from Kilfenora to Ballyvaughan, The Burren, County Clare, West of Ireland

Poulnabrone Dolmen, archaeological site in the Burren: The remains of about 22-28 people were found in the chamber including six children and the adults were all less than thirty in age.

 

Poulnabrone Dolmen, archaeological site in the Burren: A number of artefacts were also found in the graves e.g. a polished stone axe, stone disc beads, bone pendant - perforated to hang on 'string', quartz crystals and a fine bone pin.

 

Poulnabrone Dolmen, archaeological site in the Burren: The dolmen stands on a low circular cairn about 30 feet in diameter.

 

Poulnabrone Dolmen, archaeological site in the Burren: The great horizontal slab rests on four upright stones.

The top capstone of this famous archaeological site weighs 1.5 tonne.

 

The Poulnabrone Dolmen is on the R480 road running north through the interesting fascinating limestone landscape of the Burren in County Clare in the West of Ireland. This famous prehistoric site has a good car park for a picnic and of course find the time to visit the archaeological site itself with accompanying displays of information.

 

Typical landscape of the limestone pavements of the Burren - Car drive from Kilfenora to Ballyvaughan, The Burren, County Clare, West of Ireland

The typical seemingly barren landscape of the limestone pavements of the Burren. When the Poulnabrone tomb was constructed the landscape was very different. Open pine forests with elm and hazel were common and some areas of open grassland. Today's relatively barren terrain is mainly due to loss of top soil in prehistoric times. These early farmers would have lived in simple wooden houses living off crop cultivation like wheat and barley, domestic cattle together with fishing and hunting of fowl and wild animals. Their simple homesteads and subsistence poverty farming sharply contrasts with their elaborate and 'expensive' tomb building in terms of the physical effort and 'engineering' involved. There is much to be admired from the distant culture of our prehistoric ancestors.

 

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