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Dolmen at Garrafrauns
The most prominent field monument in the Garrafrauns area is the Portal Dolmen situated in John Keavney’s field due west of the village and is visible from the Poll an Adhastar road. The Dolmen is one of over 200 such tombs dotted throughout the island of Ireland. However Dolmens are not just confined to Ireland, they are also located in Britain, France and Spain.
Dolmens wDolmen at GarrafraunsDolmen at Garrafraunsere constructed about 4,500 years ago at the end of the Stone Age and at the beginning of the Bronze Age. In archaeology they are described as “Megalathic” tombs, the word “mega” meaning “huge” and “lithic” meaning stone. The people who first constructed the Dolmen actually inhabited the Garrafrauns area and farmed the land. However the landscape would have been very different and the thin layer of soil would have been covered by scrub, trees and grass.
 Dolmens are the burial chambers of Neolithic (New Stone Age) settlers. The tomb usually consisted of 3-4 undressed standing stones arranged to form a chamber and large capstone as a roof. The two tall stones at the front form the doorway (portal stones) and a smaller stone at the back support the large capstone. The portal tomb resembles a giant’s table and is called a ‘dolmen’, coming from a  Breton word “tolmen” meaning ‘stone table’. The remains of the dead people were placed in the chamber.     
In one of Irelands most famous dolmens at Polnabrone Co. Clare uncremated remains were found in the chamber. There were the main body bones of one newborn baby, six juveniles, and 16-22 adults. Only one of the adults lived beyond 40 years, and the majority were under 30 when they died. An analysis of all the fragments of disarticulated bones revealed a hard physical life and a coarse diet; it was further proved that the bones were naturally defleshed elsewhere (by exposure or burial) and only then moved within the chamber at Poulnabrone.

On some occasions the whole structure was covered with earth or stones. As well as uncremated remains, flint scrapers, pottery and stone axe heads have been unearthed at dolmens around the country. It is easy to understand why in earlier times the monument at Garrafrauns was known locally as the “Kings Grave”
The Gaelic word for a dolmen is Cromleac, which means pagan altar. In some areas they have been referred to as “Druids Stones”. The Druids were the pagan priests of the Celts and possibly used the flat capstone as an altar when offering sacrifice to their Gods.


One wonders how such huge stones came to be in the Garrafrauns area and how these primitive did people managed to erect such monuments. The stones of the dolmen are of local sandstone and were possibly deposited in the locality when the Icesheet melted about 10,000 years ago. 
The Dolmen at Garrafrauns is in a collapsed state and is comprised of 5 large Stones. The largest stone, the capstone measures 11feet at its longest, 8 feet at is widest and is 18 inches thick in places. The 2 portal stones are each about 5 feet in height. The two remaining stones are about 7 feet wide and 8 feet long and would probably have formed the chamber.