The Poulnabrone Dolman is in Co Clare between Ballyvaughan and Kilfenora.
Dolmans or Portal Tombs Dolmans, properly called Portal Tombs, mark burial places in a very distinctive way, with large capstones elevated at an angle and held up by huge standing stones. They were created between 3000 BC and 2000 BC and are generally held to be tombs, though they may also have had a ritual significance.
The stones we see now would have originally been covered in earthen mounds, with the area below the capstone forming an entrance leading to the tomb proper. Hence the correct name of Portal Tombs.
There are more than 100 dolmans scattered throughout Ireland, in various states of repair.
Quite how the people of the time manipulated the truly massive capstones into place is unknown, but the fact that so much of their work still stands some 4,500 years later is a testament to their evident skill.
Standing alone in a rocky field, with no visitor centre, car park or paved pathway to take away from a vista that has not changed in Millennia, the Poulnabrone Dolman (above) is one of the finest remaining dolmans in Ireland. It is also one of the most visited, so unless you arrive early in the morning there are likely to be quite a few people around.
Poulnabrone means “hole of the sorrows” and in 1986, when the area around the dolman was excavated, the remains of 16 adults and children were found to have been buried there, over a period of perhaps 500 years. Alongside them were many artefacts, including arrowheads and axes, stone beads and broken pottery, some of which are now on display in the National Museum in Dublin. These allowed archaeologists to date the dolman with some confidence to about 2,500 BC.
The region where the dolman stands - the Burren - is a treasure trove of stone age remains, with some 70 tombs and about 500 circular stone structures or forts. Keep your eyes peeled as you drive around, get out of the car occasionally and take a walk around - the echoes of our ancient ancestors are never very far away.
Discovered during peat cutting in the 1940s the site at Beaghmore consists of 7 stone circles. All of the rings are associated with cairns and a stone row runs towards these cairns. It is possible that Neolithic occupation and cultivation preceded the erection of burial cairns and ceremonial circles and alignments: some irregular lines and heaps of boulders resembling field-fences or field-clearance may predate the ritual structures. At some stage peat started to form over the site, and it may conceivably be that the cairns and rows were erected in a futile propitiatory attempt to restore fertility to the soil by attracting back the fading sun.
Roscommon Abbey was founded just over 750 years ago by King Felim O’ Connor (Irish: Fedlimid Ó Conchobair), king of Connacht, who was buried there himself.
Usually called the ‘Abbey’, it is more accurately described as a friary, it was created for Dominican friars. During the course of its existence, it experienced many misfortunate events, starting with a fire in 1270, a lightning-strike in 1308, and having Lord Audley take large sums of money deposited in it by the poor people of the town for the use of his army against a king of Connacht. But the main part of the church must have survived these misfortunes, for much of its existing fabric dates from the thirteenth century, as seen in the style of the lancet windows in the north and south walls. The east wall of the church probably had five such windows grouped and graded together, but they were replaced in the fifteenth century by one single large traceried window which probably shed more light inside during the morning. At the same period, a chapel — also with a large window — was added to the north, at right angles to an aisle which is separated from the nave by an arcade supported by round columns which still partially survive. Suppressed at the Reformation, the ruined buildings were denuded of their majestic tower, and probably also of the cloister to the south, when they served as a handy stone-quarry for their owner.
About 1180 Norman landlord, Hugh De Lacy built a Benedictine Priory on the facing hillside dedicated to Saint Feichin and St Taurin. Because of its relationship with a French abbey, Fore was regularly seized by the English authorities as “alien Property” when England was at war with France.
The priory was built around the cloister and courtyard. Three round-headed windows of the original chancel still stands . During the 15th century a fortified tower was built at the western end of the priory. The defensive design of the tower is evident by the arrow slits and murderous layout of the gateway. The ruins of Fore Abbey are the only remnants of a Benedictine abbey in Ireland
This large “keepless” fortress is often claimed to be the only surviving early medieval castle of an Irish ruler. It was built in the 1290s and has a roughly square plan, with enormous asymmetrical polygonal corner towers and a gateway in the eastern curtain, flanked by comparatively small projecting turrets. However, residential apartments in the upper floors of the towers appear quite sophisticated in their design, indicating that Norman rather than Irish architects were employed. Indeed, the oft-repeated claim that this castle was built by the O’Connors of the Royal House of Connaught is difficult to sustain, especially as Irish chiefs of this period had no use for such fortresses. Furthermore, in the 1333 inquisition of the Earldom of Ulster, a hundred court is recorded at Ballintober. It is likely the builder was William de Burgo, and no doubt the castle’s large area was intended to permit an Anglo-Norman settlement within its walls. The northern towers are higher than the others as they were rebuilt and repaired in 1627. Outside the walls extra protection was afforded by a wide water-filled moat. The castle fell into the hands of the O’Connors in the 14th century and remained in their possession for many centuries, being the chief seat of the O’Connor Don from 1385 until 1652. In 1598 it was surrendered to Red Hugh O’Donnell, who attacked it with cannon, breached its walls and forced Hugh O’Connor Don to recant his allegiance to the Crown. In 1641 it became a centre of Catholic resistance with the result that it was confiscated in 1652. The O’Connors regained possession in 1677 and remained in residence until 1701, when it was abandoned
The guy that lived here, or at least seems to have been from here was quite a character! en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miler_Magrath
At the end of the 1300s, Richard de Burgo - the Red Earl - built County Sligo’s first road. The Red Earl’s Road was an important one over the Curlew Mountains, and this castle was built to defend it in 1590 by Captain John St Barbe. An Elizabethan fortified blockhouse modelled on a 13th-century plan, it had four storeys, four towers and a drawbar. The castle is now large a ruin but it had an eventful past. It survived an attack by the Burkes in 1641 only to be sacked again in 1642, falling into disuse in 1680.