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Poulnabrone Portal Tomb | by Susan Roehl
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Poulnabrone Portal Tomb

Poulnabrone is probably one of the most photographed ancient monuments in Ireland. It rises prominently above the limestone pavement of clints (blocks) and grykes (crevices) resulting from eons of water erosion through the limestone.


It is located in County Clare just outside of the town Coroffin - Population 689 in 2011 .


The burial chamber was 25 cm deep. The dolmen, which is also called a portal tomb, is made up of a large single capstone that rests on two portal stones, two more orthostats, and an end stone. The portal stones are each 1.8 m tall. The entrance of the dolmen faces to the North. A sill stone crosses the front of the entrance, and might have extended all the way up to the cap stone, thus sealing the tomb. The capstone is 12 ft by 7 ft and angles from the portals down to the rear. The chamber was 8 ft by 4 ft in size. The dolmen was always a prominent feature above the limestone bedrock. A portico was formed in front of the tomb by three upright limestone stones. The portico was then backfilled with loose dirt and gravel. The tomb lies in the center of the cairn. The cairn is in the shape of an oval. The cairn is made up of large limestone slabs extending about 3m from the tomb and laid against the side of the chamber. The cairn has been stripped down from its original depth, but it has been theorized that it was only 55 cm deep at the time Poulnabrone was built. The cairn, even though it was not very tall, helped prop up the side stones.


The remains of at least 30 people have been found in the tomb.


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Taken on June 7, 2013