Brownshill Portal Tomb
At a Glance
County Carlow
OS Map 61
OS Coordinate S 755 768
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Brownshill Portal Tomb, Co. Carlow

Location: From Carlow, take R 726 about 2.5 kilometers east. The Carpark for this monument is adjacent to R 726 and the dolmen itself is visible approximately 200 meters away over the wall that fences in part of the field. There is a dedicated path along the edge of the field to the tomb. The enormity of the roofstone becomes more obvious as one nears it.

Dimensions: Brownshill portal tomb is composed of a massive granite capstone (4.7 m x 6.1 m x 2 m) estimated to weigh between 100 and 150 tons resting on two portal stones to the east, a door stone and a prostrate slab. A single orthostat flanks the north portal stone. The base slopes down to the west (the rear of the chamber) and is resting on low backstones. No visible trace of a cairn or mound remains. The chamber faces east.

Features: The site features several benches along the fence to allow visitors to rest and contemplate the sheer magnificent size of this tomb. It is reputed to have the largest capstone in Ireland and possibly in all of Europe.

Comments: In the townland of Kernanstown, and marked as Kernanstown Megalithic Tomb, this portal tomb puts the MEGA in Megalithic.

History: The monument dates from the Neolithic period. The Neolithic, or New Stone Age Ireland began about 3000 BC. Neolithic migrant men and women were Ireland's first farmers who raised animals and cultivated the soil. The portal tomb was constructed with four massive granite blocks which were probably glacial erratic boulders transported by the ice.

  © 2005-2006 F.J. & K.D. Schorr - All rights reserved.