"A fascinating insight into Ireland's ancient burial sites" - Irish Independent
Dolmen and gallery grave, Co. Louth
megalithic dolmen at Proleek, located in the legendary Cooley
Peninsula, is one of the finest examples in Ireland, and is
widely photographed and documented. Access to the dolmen is
through the grounds of a hotel, and then across a golf course,
but it is well worth a visit. Nearby is a wedge tomb, or gallery
Proleek dolmen, or portal tomb, consists of a chamber which faces
towards the northwest. The giant roof stone, which measures 3.8m
by 3.2m, is estimated to weigh about 30 tonnes or more, and is supported
on two portal stones, each about 2.3 metres high. The archaeological
term portal tomb is derived from the belief that the two large upright
stones act as a portal or doorway into the burial chamber. It has
been suggested the dolmen may once have been covered with a cairn
of stones, but no evidence of this can be found. One of the support
stones is buttressed by a modern stone and concrete support.
are a number of smaller stones on the top of the roof stone. This
is because there is a local folklore tale that says if you throw
a stone up onto the roofstone and it stays up there, you will
be married within a year! Another legend about the site tells
why the capstone is known as the "Giant's Load". Apparently,
it was carried to this point by a giant, said to be a Scottish
giant, called Parrah Boug MacShagean, who according to local stories
is buried nearby.
tombs date from around 3000BC, and were built by Neolithic farming
communities. Burials, usually cremated, were placed in the tomb
and often accompanied by flint and stone implements, bone beads
and pins, and fragments of coarse hand-made pottery.
sources give different estimations for the weight of the capstone,
from 30 to 46 tonnes. Experts are still at a loss to explain how
the ancients moved such a huge stone into position.
nearby wedge tomb (gallery grave).
gallery grave at Proleek.
Read about Proleek Dolmen's Summer Solstice alignment towards Slieve Gullion on this page.
There is a beautiful photograph of the dolmen here. You can see our old Proleek page here.