Vintage style art print of the Poulnabrone Dolmen on the Burren, County Clare (Connacht).
Poulnabrone dolmen (Poll na mBrón in Irish. As quern translates as bró in Irish, it may originate as “Hole of the quern-stones”) is an unusually large dolmen or portal tomb located in the Burren, County Clare, Ireland. Situated on one of the most desolate and highest points of the region, it comprises three standing portal stones supporting a horizontal capstone, and dates to the Neolithic period, probably between 4200 BC and 2900 BC. It the best known and most widely photographed of the approximately 172 dolmens in Ireland.
Its karst limestone setting was formed around 350 million years ago. It was built by neolithic farmers who choose the location either for ritual, as a territorial marker, or as a collective burial site, What remains today is only the “stone skeleton” of the original monument; originally it would have been covered with soil, and its flagstone capped by a cairn.
When the site was excavated in 1986 and again in 1988, around 33 human remains, including those of adults, children (and the remains of a much later bronze age infant) were found buried underneath it, along with various stone and bone objects that would have been placed with them at the time of interment. Both the human remains and the burial objects date to between 3800 BC and 3200 BC.