On the slope of Two-Rock
Mountain, in a conifer plantation above a golf-course to the
W of a by-road between the N.43 and the R.41 is a fine, unusually
large and beautifully-situated Wedge-tomb once commanding a
fine view to the SW. Some of its kerbstones are massive, and
though ruinous, the rectangular, double-walled gallery, divided
into portico, main chamber and closed E chamber (as at Labbacallee
in county Cork) are well-defined.
metres N by E, to the right of a track in the woods (O 186 217)
is a fallen standing-stone which may be the sole survivor of
a stone circle.
800 metres SE, on Newtown Hill on the other side of the
by-road (O 193 212) is a fine Ring-barrow with a standing-stone
1.4 metres tall just outside it, which appears to be aligned
with sunrise at the summer solstice
km SSE at Glencullen (O 192 203), situated over a low
wall E of a by-road near a tee on a small golf-course (use nearest
gate for access, not the golf-course) is a superb quartz Standing-stone
about 1.5 metres square (compare Cregg
in county Derry and Ballynoe
in county Down).
~ A little
over 4 km NW, in thick woodland about 100 metres above a car-park
on the Wicklow Way at Kilmashogue (O 152 245)
is a ruined Wedge-tomb with denuded cairn in which several kists
were inserted at a later date. The roofless gallery is triple-walled,
and the very high sill-stone between the antechamber and main
chamber is another unusual feature.
There is a standing-stone to the east on the edge of a private
road, and 800 metres SW (O 147 238), by a brook in the same
townland of Kilmashogue, is ruined "Larch Hill" Portal-tomb,
with remnants of a forecourt, substantial remains of its cairn,
and one portal-stone standing about 3 metres tall. The other
is lying beneath the roots of a tree. The fallen capstone is
a slab around 2.4 metres square.
~ 6 km WNW in Rockbrook
(O 138 249) is a pair of slender standing-stones about 1.6 metres
high in a field to the N of a by-road leading on to the R.116
- marked as only one stone on the map. These are in line with
another similar (leaning) stone in the same townland on the
other side of the road behind the wall in a paddock (O 141 247).
In the hedgerow to the N of the road are six other similar stones
which suggest that there might here have been an important alignment.
~ About 5 km NW, East
of St Columba's College, in Taylor's Grange (O 158 255),
in the middle of a grassy area on a turn-of-the-century housing
estate which now occupies what was once Glynsouthwell Demesne,
are the imposing remains of a portal-tomb known as "The
Brehon's Chair": two orthostats and a door-stone 3
metres high. They are in the centre of a circular depression
about 30 metres across.
~ 7 km W by S, in
Glassamucky Brakes (O 115 209) are the remains of county
Dublin's only surviving stone circle, about 60 metres up the
slope from a by-road, on a small shelf that looks due west across
the valley. On the west side of the circle 7 stones still stand
(the highest being 90 cms), including an axial stone which is
leaning out of the circle.
~ 6.5 km WSW, on the
Dublin-Wicklow border (O 129 214), about 120 metres up the hill
from the R.115 in Glassamucky Mountain is a massive boulder
in which there is a very large, flat bottomed bullaun over 35
cms in diameter. Two other bullauns of equal size have been
eroded. This bullaun is at least as old as the Bronze Age, and
SE from it can be seen the significant top of the quartz cone
of Great Sugar Loaf Mountain. Not far away is a smaller boulder
with the narrow, elongated cup-marks typical of North Wicklow
and South Dublin along its upper edge, aligned with the winter-solstice
sunrise in a notch to the S of the Great Sugar Loaf.
~ 7 km WSW in Cunard
(O 117 199, unmarked on Sheet 56), down the hillside from a
by-road, are the charming remains of a portal-tomb attractively
situated on a little hump around which a peaty brown stream
gurgles. Though it may have originally been two metres high,
it is now only 1.6 metres, since the portal-stones have vanished.
The capstone, some 2.2 metres long, rests on the sidestones
of the small chamber.
~ In the same townland,
at O 119 199 on a fairly steep slope is an alignment of three
pointed stones around 1.2 metres high with unraised stones all
around. At the SW end is a circular platform which may be artificial.
~ 5.5 km ENE is Brenanstown
O 065 239
30 metres W of the
artificial Mound on Knockanvinidee marked on the map
is an oval circle of stones surrounding a low mound which was
(according to the Ordnance Survey papers for county Dublin)
a cairn containing a tomb. On the NE side is a spectacular stone
with a quartzite
face, which would shine brilliantly in the first rays of daybreak
around the summer solstice, when the sun would rise over the
sacred peninsula of Howth, towards which so many Dublin monuments
are aligned. (This is not unique: the door-stone of the passage-tomb
at Bretteville near Cherbourg in Normandy has a similar 'veneer'
of quartzite.) On the SW side is a pointed stone emphasising
the axis, while at the S is a large stone of unusual granite-conglomerate.
There were other kerbs or circles on the other side of the mound
marked on the map. Northwards from the circle is a spectacular
view over the modern city of Dublin and the Dublin-Meath plain
towards the Carlingford and Mourne Mountains, Slieve Gullion,
Slieve na Calliagh (Loughcrew) - and the Bricklieve Mountains
of Sligo to the NW. South-eastwards are the hills of south Dublin
including Two-Rock and Kilmashogue Mountains, with several of
the monuments mentioned above - plus Montpellier on whose summit
was a very important and cynosuric passage-tomb wrecked by the
building of the 18th century Hellfire Club. This must
have been a sacred site of very great importance.
500 metres WSW (O 058 236) is a 'Cairn' marked on the map, almost
on the top of Knockannavea.
metres almost due East at Ballymaice (O 070 236), situated
on the very edge of a conifer plantation and built on a natural
rise on a promontory, is the kerb of another tomb. From it is
a splendid view of Dublin Bay and its islands, and there is
likely to be a Summer Solstice sunrise alignment over the top
of Lambay Island, where there are remains of an Neolithic axe
km NW, on Lugmore Hill (O 059 248), on the other side
of the wall behind the trigonometric marker is a fine example
of a kist. Four large slabs form an open topped box 1 metre
long, 80 cms wide, and at least 70 cms deep (the bottom is filled
with rocks). The roof-stone is lying next to the open grave,
having been levered off and overturned. The exposed underside
is flat, whereas the top is domed. The tomb is probably from
the Bronze Age.
km due West is a cairn and small passage-tomb near the top of
Knockananiller Hill (O 019 237). The cairn is 20 metres
in diameter and 4 metres high. From the top it is easy to see
the remaining orthostats of the tomb poking through the remains
of the mound. The passage of the ruined tomb is aligned northeast
to the mid-winter solstice sunrise. To the west of the chamber
is a circular bank. My colleague Tom FourWinds came here on the
morning of the 1st August 2004 (Lughnasa) and wrote:
here Howth can be seen in the notch formed between the hills
of Lugg and Verschoyles Hill. Once again this seems to be another
monument located so that Howth appears in a special way in the
landscape. There are six orthostats to the passage and a sill
stone can be seen at the northeast end.
"This morning's sunrise was superb. As the sun peeked
above the horizon at 05:39 it seemed to hover above Lugg just
as I had thought it would do. I had made a slight miscalculation
in its precise location however, and was pleasantly surprised
to see it rise right behind Ireland's Eye - the small island
to the north of Howth. As the sun rose its reflection
in the sea between Dublin and Howth was an impressive sight.
Dublin has expanded to the east by at least a mile and 4000
years ago there would have been no land visible between the
top of Lugg and Howth. Bearing this in mind, it would have looked
as if there were two suns then - the false one appearing as
a reflection between Howth and the top of Lugg ... very, very
"After seeing this today I am in no doubt that this
cairn and passage tomb were built here to mark this very special
sunrise. I think it most probable that Lughnasadh festivals
were held at this cairn in the past."
O 046 260
1.2 km SE of Saggart
village centre and about 30 metres S of the road to Tallaght,
are two stones 1.2 and 1.3 metres high, only 1.7 metres apart.
One is pointed and the other flat-topped: Adam and Eve
- though the locals name them the other way round!
male-and-female pairs are at Sandville (under Cregg)
county Derry, Tulnacross (under Beaghmore), county
Tyrone, and Ballymakane (under Buncarrick), county
~ 3.2 km S, about 400
metres E of the road to Blessington, 250 metres E of of a farm
at the end of a lane, in Raheen (O 038 235), is a massive
standing-stone 2.1 metres high, with a line of 5 (artificial
?) hollows about 4 cms in diameter on the top right of its S
O 197 660
This group of tombs
is in an amazing location above the seashore. Of the five mounds
the central is the largest at over 3 metres high and 30 metres
across. The other four appear to be satellites. There may have
been more to the north of the main mound at one time, but they
would have been washed into the sea
500 metres to the N the Delvin River enters the sea. Beyond
that is the passage-tomb cemetery of Knocknagin (county
Meath), the two acting as sentinels
to the narrow route inland towards the significant passage-tomb
at Fourknocks (county Meath)
and on to Tara beyond that. To the southeast the twin rocks
of Rockabill lie like a pair of breasts on the horizon. Further
south, Lambay Island can be seen - also on the horizon. (On
a rock outcrop between the Neolithic cairn and the shore, a
grassy ledge is known to Balbriggan people as 'The Wishing Chair',
in which, according to modern debased legend, the wish of a
person sitting in it 'will come true. It has never been known
to fail' - because those who are failed either forget they wished,
or do not report back, or have their reports ignored.)
~ 4.8 km S in Balrothery
(O 202 612) is a small but handsome, squarish standing-stone
1.3 metres high - now the centre-piece for a communal green
space in a small housing-estate.
~ 5 km WSW of the Balrothery
stone, high above the Delvin River at Knockbrack (O 155
597), four mounds, probably containing passage-tombs, mirror
those at Fourknocks (county Meath)
on the opposite side. Together, these two important groups make
the Delvin valley a very special place indeed. The mounds seem
to be in two pairs with the best pair being to the S, affording
fine views to the coast near to Bremore and south towards
Lambay. None of the mounds show any signs of kerbs - but neither
did the tombs at Fourknocks.
400 metres S on the very highest point of the hill is a hillfort
which incorporates another passage tomb.
O 229 241
Hidden in a small glen
behind a modern bungalow ('Glendruid House') some 800 metres
SSW of Cabinteely and on the left-hand side of the Brenanstown
road when approaching from the N.7 and 400 metres past a signpost
pointing to Tully Church and Crosses, this superb dolmen is
well worth the trouble of finding and asking permission to visit.
Seven granite uprights support a huge, characteristically-tilted
capstone some 4.5 metres square and weighing 40 tonnes. This
is one of the few megalithic tombs to be approached from above,
so that one can see 2 artificial channels forming an inverted
V carved on the top of the roofstone.
~ 2 km SE (O 255 230),
surrounded by surburbia, immediately W of the Ballybrack-Bray
road and 200 metres N of the junction of it with the Bray-Killiney
road, in a football field opposite a house emblazoned with the
name "Cromlech", and entered via a door in the hedge, is Ballybrack
"Cromlech": a granite portal-tomb. It too has a typically
tilted capstone 2 metres long raised 2.7 metres from the ground,
with a single deep cupmark. Despite the disappearance of some
sidestones and the backstone, the dolmen is worth finding.
~ 4 km WSW in Kiltiernan
(O 197 224), 1.5 km SSE of Stepaside, along a cul-de-sac leading
off the N.43 for 500 metres, then up a private avenue and across
3 stony fields along a rough path which leads to the megalith
from above, is
another portal-tomb with a huge, soaring capstone - which has
displaced some of its supporting stones - and a very large chamber.
"The whole monument has the appearance of a sphinx-like
monster, advancing out of the rocky hill on some half dozen
short and rickety legs." The Kiltiernan and Ballybrack
tombs are linked by the Laughlinstown river. The gorse around
the tomb was cleared in Spring 2007.
In the grounds of
Howth Castle, romantically situated some 230 metres to the right
of the entrance to the Rhododendron Walk, this dolmen has partly
collapsed under the weight of its huge capstone, estimated to
weigh 70 tonnes, which evidently came from the steep quartzite
face of Muck Rock above ~ beyond which, right on the tip of
the Ben of Howth (O 280 379) is a roofless kist in a significantly-sited
cairn whose damaged chamber is some 30 cms deep and 70 cms square.
This cairn is
visible from very many megaliths in the area - even from as
far away as Fourknocks in county Meath - and seems to be a kind
of prehistoric nexus.
To the west of the
Ben there is a small hillock and this, too, has a cairn on its
summit. A third one, now flattened almost to ground level, is
S of the roofless kist on the Ben. A fourth, northernmost, cairn
is sited on a spur above Muck Rock in such a way that the two
islands of Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island line up with it to
the north. This cairn too is almost levelled but still contains
a small kist.
O 081 197
The most obvious monument
on Seahan Hill is a cairn some 25 metres in diameter and two
metres high, with a trigonometric marker on top.
To the north of the cairn is the remains of a passage-tomb with
its chamber exposed, but broken, visible from above through
the broken roof. Most of the kerb stones are still in place
and the mound remains to a height of about 2 metres.
The southernmost monument
on the hilltop is a ruined passage tomb. It has an exposed round
chamber and a short passage opening to the southwest. A large
stone blocks the entrance to the passage.The chamber is just
1.8 metres in diameter, while the passage is no more than a
metre long. At the rear of the chamber there is a solid quartz
100 metres E is a large
passage-tomb with a kerb very well defined on the S side, with
enormous stones up to 2 metres long, set on edge. The cairn
covering the (central) chamber is so low that the roofstone
and part of the chamber and passage are exposed.
Further E again are
the remains of a small, roofless and cairnless, outlying, 'undifferentiated'
passage-tomb whose passage merges into its chamber. Two parallel
rows of upright stones are crossed by a low sill-stone, and
then the rows continue while getting farther apart, then close
together to form an 'undifferentiated' chamber.
Needless to say, the
hill offers superb views.
I am indebted to Tom
FourWinds and his GPS Locater's
splendid work in finding the lesser-known monuments of county
For an exhaustive list of monuments in Dublin and North Wicklow click
BOOK by Tom FourWinds:
ABOUT PREHISTORIC DUBLIN
an exhaustive, well-illustrated and well-presented
guide and gazetteer to
the megaliths around Dublin: the first - and a model - of its
page is expanded on the developed
from this website