Dolmens are also called portal tombs, and are the simplest and most spectacular of all Neolithic tombs (2500 – 2000 B.C.)
There is no more a photogenic one than this tripod dolmen with long slender legs and a theatrical setting on the south-west slope of Slieve Croob in South Down, near to Leitrim and Castlewellan County Down.
The long flat capstone balances elegantly on three unusually tall and thin upright stones, the tallest of which is exactly 2 metres high.
A slab lying in the middle of the chamber may have always been there but it could be one of the boulders from the cairn over the tomb.
The people who built this wonderful granite structure covered covered it up with a mound of stones and earth. There are slight traces of grass all round except on the farm track side.
People have always wondered about these impressive stone monuments. These thoughts are reflected in the names they gave; ~ Druid’s Altar, Giant’s Grave, and ‘Diarmuid and Grainne’s Bed’ derived from a popular folk tale, is also common.
The name dolmen applied by early antiquarians is from the Breton word ‘tolmen’ meaning stone table.
Legananny Dolmen has given the townland its name.
Liagan Aine means ‘pillar stone of Anya’ who was the mythological mother goddess loved by the warrior Finn McCool (of Giant’s Causeway fame).
Other nearby monuments are:
Sliddery Ford Dolmen
Annadorn Dolmen and
Ballynoe Stone circles.
A similar type dolmen can also be found at the Giant’s Ring on the Southern outskirts of Belfast.*