Dolmen tombs are megalithic (pre-historic) tombs (above ground burials). They are also sometimes referred to as Portal Tombs. Most Dolmens are around 5-6,000 years old, however, some Dolmens in western Europe are over 7000 years old.
Archaeologists still do not know who erected these dolmens, which makes it difficult to know why they did it. They are generally all regarded as tombs or burial chambers. The stones that are currently visible above ground, would have been covered by earth at the time of construction. The capstone (the upper part of the Dolmen) would have formed the entrance into the tomb below.
The Dolmen pictured above (Poulnabrone) is from the Burren in County Clare. It is an unusually large Dolmen. Poulnabrone is one of the few Dolmens in Ireland to be excavated in modern times. Excavations uncovered the remains of 22 people, some of whom had been defleshed as early as 3,800 BC.
Many dolmens are also associated with graves of famous giants or warriors, such as Nuada of the Silver Arm in Sligo's Labby rock.
There are slightly under 200 Dolmens remaining in Ireland today. How these stones were manoeuvred into place is not known and is quite the feat for pre-historic mankind.
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Go raibh maith agat
The Irish Gift Co