The oldest ancient structure in Dublin City and the smallest dolmen in Ireland

Knockmaree Dolmen is located in Phoenix Park in Dublin City. It dates from approx 1700BC-2500BC and is probably the oldest monument near the city and possibly the smallest ‘dolmen’ structure in Ireland. It is located beside Knockmary Lodge and is also known as the Linkardstown Tomb. Although sometimes described as a dolmen, these stones are actually the remains of a ‘cist’ type burial chamber. Only 15 of these particular type of burial tombs have ever been excavated in Ireland, and most of them are found in Munster and south Leinster. This one was discovered in 1838 when workmen employed by ‘The Commissioners of Woods and Forests’ were asked to remove an ancient tumulus. It measured an impressive 15 feet in height and 120 feet in circumference. Inside the tumulus, 4 small stone cists were found that contained urns of baked clay, food vessels and pieces of burnt bone. The remaining stones (in the photo) were at the very centre of the mound and no passageway led to them. The remains of two almost complete male skeletons were found in a crouched position and analysis showed they were approx 40 & 50 years old (which was old for the time). There was also a flint knife, shell necklaces and a bone toggle. The water worn capstone is believed to have come from the nearby River Liffey.