Poulnabrone Portal Tomb




N 53° 02' 55.6"   W 009° 08' 23.9"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

M 23600 00366

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Monday 7 June 2010

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The Poulnabrone portal tomb, surrounded and protected by a rope fence and a dissuasive sign. The cracked stone on the rightmost edge of the photo is the original portal stone, which broke in 1985.

I think that it's always raining at this place. We came here for the first time on December 8th, 1995, then on May 13th, 2002, and we just drove by again in May 2006. But the weather has always been more than miserable!
Since the last time we were here a large parking for cars and buses has been built to the side of the road. Of course this facility ate away a large part of the precious karst landscape of the Burren!
From the car park there's a 300 metres long footpath, totally fenced with thick ropes, but enriched with three very explicative signs.
This is the most famous and most photographed portal tomb of Ireland, and I would say of the world.
The portal tomb is now unaccessible to the visitors that have to look at the monument from a distance of about 5 metres.
We consider ourselves lucky for having been able to see it closely and to touch it in the past.
Of course, any precise measurement of the dimensions of the tomb has been impossible. All I have now is a set of photographs, taken under a heavy rain and a strong wind!
One of the portal stones cracked in 1985 and as a consequence of this, the portal tomb collapsed. The portal stone was replaced and the tomb rebuilt. The original portal stone can be seen lying on the ground before the entrance.
In this tomb 33 individuals, adults and children, male and female, were buried, along with some personal items, like pendants, flint weapons and quartz beads.
Only the bones of the dead were buried here, the bodies were interred somewhere else and moved here only after the corpses were totally decomposed. The radiocarbon dating has shown that the bones found here date back to 4,200 BC, over 6,000 years ago!
The entrance to the tomb faces north-northeast (15°).

Poulnabrone Portal Tomb appears as one of the locations in the movie "Far and Away" (1992) by Ron Howard. It's seen as a silhouette at sunset, from the northeast, when the character Joseph Donnelly uses it as a night shelter during his travel to Daniel Christie's house (see movie at time 0:14:18 to 0:14:24).

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