Dolmen of Four Maols Kist




N 54° 06' 25.2"   W 009° 09' 56.8"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

G 23798 18171

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Friday 7 September 2012

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The dolmen, or kist, and the solitary stone on the left, seen from the northeast.

I call this place "the dolmen of the railway in Ballina", because the railway and its station along with the freight yard are right there, below the hill and, unfortunately, well visible from the monument.
The place where it stands on is called Primrose Hill. There's a story about this place.
In the 7th century Guaire Aidne mac Colmáin, well known for his hospitality, was king of Connacht, but he wasn't the rightful heir to the throne after the death of his father Colmán mac Cobthaig. The rightful heir was a man called Ceallach who chose to become a priest and eventually became bishop of Kilmoremoy, a place about 1.5 km north of Ballina. Ceallach was murdered by the four brothers of Guaire Aidne, the Four Maols (maol is the Irish for bald), who were under the tuition of the bishop.
The Four Maols were put on trial for this crime and hanged at Ardnaree, a place about 1.7 km east of Primrose Hill. The legend has it that their bodies were taken through a tunnel running under the River Moy and buried next to this dolmen.
Though it's called dolmen, it's most likely a kist. It's 2.20 metres wide, 1.50 metres long and 1.28 metres tall. The entrance of the tomb looks south-southeast (160°). The southwest side of the capstone has a weird feature, six holes drilled in the stone in the precise position of the corners of a hexagon. I doubt that they're original with the monument. Another solitary stone stands at 4 metres southeast (150°) from the entrance and probably was one of the stones making the kist. This stone as well has marks of drilling.

We came here for the first time on April 29th, 1997.

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