Poulnabrone Dolmen, The Burren, County Clare - oil painting

Avril Brand

Kilrush, Ireland

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Oils on canvas (14 × 18 inches)

(Poll na mBrón in Irish meaning “hole of sorrows”) is a portal tomb in the Burren, County Clare, Ireland, dating back to the Neolithic period, probably between 4200 BC to 2900 BC.

The dolmen consists of a twelve-foot, thin, slab-like, tabular capstone supported by two slender portal stones, which lift the capstone 1.8m (6ft) from the ground, creating a chamber in a 9m (30ft) low cairn. The cairn helped stabilize the tomb, and would have been much higher originally. The entrance faces north and is crossed by a low sill stone

Excavations found that between 16 and 22 adults and 6 children were buried under the monument. Personal items buried with the dead included a polished stone axe, a bone pendant, quartz crystals, weapons and pottery. In the Bronze Age, around 1700BC, a newborn baby was buried in the portico, just outside the entrance. With its dominating presence on the limestone landscape of the Burren, the tomb was likely a centre for ceremony and ritual until well into the Celtic period.

Poulnabrone portal tomb at the Burren in County Clare is one of the world’s best known and most visited dolmens. Ireland is fortunate in having almost 200 dolmens and of course Brownshill in county Carlow is the largest. But when the setting is taken into account, and the wildflowers of the Burren, the isolation from a built environment, the quite, and the sheer magic are considered, Poulnabrone must come out on top. When the dolmen was erected here, the landscape probably looked very different. There is evidence that the people who built the many tombs on the burren actually farmed the area and the Burren would have had a covering of soil with scrub, trees and grass growing there. It was this very farming which caused the stripping away of the soil and leaves us today with the dramatic limestone landscape for which the area is famous.

Artwork Comments

  • Avril Brand
  • Arie van der Wijst
  • Avril Brand
  • Racheli
  • Avril Brand
  • barnsis
  • Avril Brand
  • MIchelle Thompson
  • Avril Brand
  • joedog
  • Avril Brand
  • Joe Trodden
  • Avril Brand
  • Patricia Montgomery
  • Avril Brand
  • maggie326
  • FranEvans
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