Poulnabrone Portal Tomb
Poulnabrone Portal Tomb, also known as Poulnabrone Dolmen, is one of the oldest memorials in the human history of The Burren. This megalithic tomb was built during the neolithic period, over 6000 years ago, when the practice of farming was first becoming established. It is possibly the best-preserved portal tomb in The Burren, with two tall portal stones flanking the entrance to a rectangular stone-lined chamber covered by a single large capstone. The low oval-shaped mound or cairn of loose stone that helped stabilize the chamber surrounds the tomb.
This tomb and its environment are composed of Carboniferous limestone, a sedimentary rock type formed over 320 million years ago on the floor of a warm shallow sea. The landscape has changed considerably over time, with much of today’s barren terrain being the result of excessive soil loss in later prehistoric times. Ancient field walls that can be seen in the Burren may have been constructed by the tomb builders to enclose their farmland and mark territorial boundaries.
Archaeological excavations carried out between 1986 and 1988 revealed that at least 33 individuals were buried in the chamber, including infants, children, and adults, both male and female. Personal possessions buried with the dead, such as a polished stone ax, decorated bone pendant, stone beads, quartz crystals, flint weapons and implements, and fragments of pottery, provide insight into the neolithic period.
Radiocarbon dating has shown that those buried in the chamber died 6200 to 4900 years ago, placing them firmly in the neolithic or new stone age. This tomb was not just a form of burial place but must have also been a focus for related rituals and ceremonies. Today it provides us with the ability to imagine and contemplate the past.
Polnabrone Portal Tomb is a must-see site on any Private Cliffs of Moher Day Tour. Connemara Chauffeurs can take you to visit this stunning and historic site while maintaining a “leave no trace” policy. Please ensure that you do not leave any trace that you were ever at Polnabrone Portal Tomb – except for the spectacular photographs you will inevitably take. If you wish to include a visit to the Polnabrone Portal Tomb on your Private Tour to The Cliffs of Moher, simply specify it at the time of booking or speak to your driver/guide. We hope you enjoy your visit.
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