This national monument is the Poulnabrone Dolmen. It’s timeless simplicity has made it one of the most photographed landmarks in Ireland. It is a classic example of a portal tomb. The tall portal stones flank the entrance to a rectangular stone chamber which is then covered by a single large capstone. The name ‘Poulnabrone’ means ‘The Hole of the Sorrows’ in Irish and dates from the Neolithic period (4200 bc – 2900 bc). The tomb is surrounded by a mound of stones (or cairn). This would have been the cairns’s original height to add stability but not to dominate the tomb’s elegant shape. Remains of at least 31 infants, children and adults were excavated in 1986 along with  personal possessions including polish stone axes, decorated stone beads, quartz crystals, pottery, chert and flint weapons. Radio carbon dating also shows that a newborn was buried in the portico nearly 2000 years after the tomb was built! It is located in the ‘Burren’ which is one of the most dramatic areas of Ireland. This entire area looks like a moonscape as giant slabs of limestone have been eroded and dissolved by rainwater creating what is described as a ‘karst’ landscape.

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