Brownshill Dolmen: history, facts & visit info

Explore the Neolithic mystery of Brownshill Dolmen in County Carlow. Discover its history, intriguing facts, and essential visit details.

Brownshill Dolmen: history, facts & visit info.

Brownshill Dolmen is a megalithic portal tomb in County Carlow. This unmistakable monument, adorned with massive granite capstones atop upright portal stones, hints at a rich history shrouded in mystery.

At over 4,000 years old, Brownshill Dolmen, officially known as Kernanstown Cromlech, has withstood the test of time, captivating visitors with its low boulders, earthen mounds, and ramps of earth.

Some say it was a burial chamber, while others speculate religious rites. Join us as we delve into its secrets, explore the surrounding artificial mounds, and uncover the stories of the past.

Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for visiting Brownshill Dolmen:

  • Brownshill Dolmen is located in County Carlow, about 3 km (1.8 miles) east of Carlow Town, one of the best towns in Ireland.
  • Ireland’s weather can be unpredictable, so dress appropriately and bring waterproof clothing just in case.
  • The site may not be wheelchair accessible due to its uneven terrain, so plan accordingly.
  • Capture the beauty of the dolmen, but be mindful not to use flash photography, as it can damage the ancient stones.
  • Brownshill Dolmen is a national monument and is free to visit. It is open 24 hours a day.

Address: Hackettstown, Hacketstown Rd, Ballynakillbeg, Carlow, Ireland

Interesting facts about Brownshill Dolmen:

  • Brownshill Dolmen is one of the largest megalithic portal tombs in Europe.
  • It is also known as Dolmain Chnoc Bhrúnaigh in Irish, which you can learn to properly pronounce in any of these ten places to learn the Irish language.
  • It is estimated to be over 4,000 years old, dating back to the Neolithic period.
  • It is comprised of two portal stones and a gate stone supporting a huge, 150-ton granite capstone that slopes down to the floor.
  • Brownshill Dolmen has never been excavated, but findings from other portal tombs include human bone or skeletons, pottery, and flint artefacts, as well as personal items like bone pins and beads.
  • The purpose of portal tombs like Brownshill Dolmen remains a subject of debate among archaeologists, with theories ranging from burial chambers to religious rites.
  • There are other tombs in Ireland, such as Newgrange, which is one of Ireland’s must-see prehistoric sites.

What’s nearby

Food: The Chocolate Garden of Ireland Café (café), Teach Dolmain (gastropub), Kam Boat (Chinese), Bombay Diner (Indian).

Drink: Millers, Carpe Diem, Carpenters Bar & Lounge, The Irishmans Bar, The Castle Tavern.

Accommodation: Mount Wolseley Hotel Spa & Golf Resort (four-star), Talbot Hotel Carlow (four-star), Woodford Dolmen Hotel (three-star), Seven Oaks Hotel (three-star).

Other attractions: Delta Sensory Gardens, Oakpark Loop, Carlow Golf Club, Carlow Cathedral, and Carlow County Museum.

Your questions answered about this topic

What was the Brownshill Dolmen used for?

The purpose of the tomb remains uncertain, but it is believed to have been used for burial chambers or religious rites during the Neolithic period.

What is the largest dolmen in Europe?

Brownshill Dolmen is the largest dolmen in Europe.

How was Brownshill Dolmen built?

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Brownshill Dolmen was constructed using the dry-stone technique, without mortar, with massive upright stones supporting a granite capstone.

IB4UD Guides to Carlow

Top 10 things to do in Carlow (County Guide)

Top 10 best pubs in Carlow

Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland

On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.



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