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 Location: Carlow, Co Carlow, Ireland.  Grid Reference: 52° 50' 13.42" N, 6° 53' 39.71" W.

 

      Browne's Hill: (Dolmen, 'Portal' Tomb).

The Browne's Hill Dolmen is a 'portal tomb' dating from the 4th - 5th millennium B.C. (2). It has a very large granite capstone measuring 4.7 metres x 6.1 metres x 2 metres. The capstone rests on two portal stones, a door stone and a prostrate slab. The dolmen or cromlech is a type of pagan sepulchral monument.

Although the capstone is said to be the largest to be found in Europe (It has been calculated to weigh around 150 tons)(2), Arguably larger than this is the now broken capstone of the Bajouliere Dolmen in France.

(Map of Site: How to get there)

 

 

   Browne's Hill Dolmen:

('Chnoc an Bhrúnaigh', 'Brennanstown Dolmen', 'Kernanstwoen Cromlech')

This megalith is called the 'Browne's Hill' Dolmen because it is sited on a hill on which sits the former estate house of the Browne family.

This site remains unexcavated, so very little is known about this dolmen except that it was once supported by three stones at the front; a gate stone, and two portals (See photo, right).

The dolmen stands alone in the middle of a large field, and the stone is not local, suggesting either that it was carried here, or it travelled here during the ice-age. It is known as Browne's hill Portal Tomb, so-called because the entrance to the burial chamber was flanked by two large upright stones (orthostats) supporting the granite capstone, or roof, of the chamber. The granite capstone is thought to have been covered by an earthen mound and a gate-stone blocked the entrance. At Browne's hill both portal stones and the gate-stone are still in situ; the capstone lies on top of the portals and gate-stone and slopes to the ground away from the entrance. Not much additional information is available on Browne's hill because it has never been excavated. A fourth upright stands close by and could be the remains of a forecourt. The extent of the chamber cannot be determined.

 

Gallery of Images:

 

(Other Dolmens)

 

(Other Prehistoric Irish Sites)

 

 

 

References:

1). 'About Carlow' Issue 2.
2). Site Plaque - (Click here for image)
 
 

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