Haroldstown Dolmen

Dolmens are megalithic structures of the cultural heritage of Ireland. Scattered all over the country and there is no shortage of them in County Carlow as well.

Thus, the first and most famous one is the Brownshill Dolmen.

And, the second one I got to is Haroldstown Dolmen. Situated on the banks of the Derren River just off the Acuan Bridge. Between Tullow Road and Hacketstown Road, very close to Tullow Road on the R727. It is visible from the roadside. This Dolmen stands on private land so there is a problem with direct access to it. You have to climb a gate to get into the field which is illegal.

Furthermore, Haroldstown Dolmen is considered to be one of the most attractive and well-preserved examples of portal Dolmen in Ireland.

What`s more, it consists of two massive, slightly inclined, overlapping stones. Capstones that form the “roof”, the larger of the boulders are almost 4 meters long. The smaller one is about 3 meters. Capstones are supported by ten vertical stones. The Dolmen’s chamber is 4 meters long and 3 meters wide. Much larger than the average chamber of such tomb structures. Experts on the subject say that in the 19th century, this chamber was used as a makeshift dwelling.

Thus, what is Dolmen, and who built it?

So, there were various hypotheses on this subject. The winning one was that it was a megalithic tomb from prehistoric times (between 2000 – 3000 BC). It was established based on the study of numerous dolmens, where Human remains were often found arranged in a way that indicated a burial.

Haroldstown Dolmen was constructed around 2500 BC.

Legend has it that the rock that makes up the Dolmen’s roof was thrown here by the Giant, and his handprint can still be seen on the underside of the stone capstone.

Besides, Haroldstown Dolmen is known and popular in Ireland’s photography community.

However, the Browneshill is the most magnificent dolmen in Europe with the largest cap weighing around 100 tons. Haroldstown is much smaller. It is more difficult for “ordinary” tourists to find it. There are no information boards like Brownshill Dolmen. There is no parking as well. You can get here by chance or by getting information from the locals.

Location of Haroldstown Dolmen:

Below are photos I took in July 2021.


Blogger. Volunteer. Enthusiast of photography, nature, architecture, and cultural events. Since 2014 living in County Carlow in Ireland.

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