The Poulnabrone Dolmen, Caherconnell. County Clare       c. 3600 b. c.

The Poulnabrone Dolmen is a national monument and dates from c. 3600 b. c. Its timeless simplicity has made it one of the most photographed landmarks in Ireland. This dramatic and sparsely populated area is known as ‘The Burren’ which looks like a moonscape as giant slabs of limestone have been eroded and dissolved by rainwater creating what is described as a ‘karst’ landscape. This is a classic example of a portal tomb with the taller portal stones flanking the entrance to a rectangular stone chamber. The name ‘Poulnabrone’ translates to mean ‘the hole of sorrows’ maybe due to the eerie sounds of the wind rushing underneath caverns in the limestone below. The tomb was originally surrounded by a small cairn of stones. 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 new born child was buried in the front section nearly 2000 years after the tomb was built.