The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Browne's Hill

Portal Tomb

<b>Browne's Hill</b>Posted by ryanerImage © ryaner
Also known as:
  • Brennanstown Dolmen
  • Brownshill

Nearest Town:Carlow (2km WSW)
OS Ref (IE):   S745768 / Sheet: 61
Latitude:52° 50' 13.42" N
Longitude:   6° 53' 39.71" W

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31/08/2019 – The amount of quality sites in Ireland is a little overwhelming. Planning our trip was hard and I just didn’t know where to begin. In the end we said pick 3 sites for the week. That would be a good start. First pick – Drombeg, easy start, this was a must for me as it was an Irish recumbent. Next up was Maeve's Cairn, an upland cairn of unbelievable size. Last pick was no problem too - Brownshill Dolmen. I just had to see that capstone. 3 picks done, now to plan the trip. I had no clue where the sites where in relation to each other. Turned out a little tricky as they where in 3 different parts of the country. After a little think, we decided to go for it. More travelling than I’d have liked but least we’d see a good bit of countryside.

It had been a great holiday so far. Maeve's Cairn was amazing, Drombeg was as good as I’d hoped. Today was our last full day in Ireland. Tomorrow we’d be back in Aberdeenshire. Early train from Cork to Dublin then a train back to Carlow. Got there about 11 o’clock. It’s a walk of just over 2 miles to the dolmen. Mostly pavement but the last section for about 400 metres is just along a narrow verge and the road is a little busy at times. Not brilliant but it’s short.

Reaching the carpark, there were just a few cars there. We walked down the track to the site. Great access. Brownshill Dolmen can be seen across the field but it’s only when you get up close does the size hit you. The capstone is just a monster. We had a sit on the bench there as folk came and went. Great to watch expressions as folk came face to face with the dolmen. Everyone looked pretty amazed and so they should. The site is a proper head shaker, how the hell did they lift that size!!? We got the place to ourselves soon enough and I had a walk round the dolmen. I loved the back of the capstone. So rounded and huge, very huge, like huge plus 1. I didn’t go under the stone. You can easily but the weight above! The weather was just lovely, blue skies and white fluffy clouds gave a perfect backdrop to the stones.

This was the last of the sites on our trip to Ireland and what a visit to finish on. This big friendly monster just made me smile. Hard to leave to make the walk back to Carlow to catch the train to Dublin.

I remember commenting that I had to visit here on a ryaner photo earlier this year . He replied saying it should be compulsory, he’s not wrong.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
9th September 2019ce
Edited 9th September 2019ce

Visited 25.5.11
My last but one site visit on my week's holiday in Ireland – and what a site!!
This is one of the 'touristy' sites with a large car park, information boards and a dedicated path leading to the tomb. When we arrived there was no one else there and myself and Dafydd strolled up to the tomb – which by the way is easily visible from the car park.
The capstone is very, very large – the info board says it is between 130 – 150 tonnes.
Whatever its true weight it certainly would have taken some serious shifting!
I must admit to having tried to scramble up the capstone but failed miserably – well done do those who have managed it! In the end I contented myself with sitting inside and admiring the surroundings. I did take a photo of Dafydd sitting on the upright in front to the tomb which is now on my desk in work and I am looking at whilst typing this site report.
As we were about to leave a coach load of American tourists arrived who managed to walk to the tomb, take photos and get back on the coach before we had even managed to get back to the car!
This is one of the most famous prehistoric sites in Ireland – and quite rightly so.
A 'must visit' when in the area and a site very easy to access.
Posted by CARL
16th June 2011ce

We were so hungry and tired by the time we got here that we just sat and ate our butties, whilst lots of Italian tourists came by, stood by the dolmen, took a picture and then left. Why is it that men always have to pose for photos like they are trying to pull? One arm, ever so casually raised, resting on the stone and a look of disinterest on their face? Maybe I've just met some strange men over the years.

Anyway, when we eventually felt revived by our tuna butties and apple juice, we explored. This is a huge bugger! The capstone is so enormous you just cannot imagine how it ended up on top of the portal stones. It must have been in-situ and the rest built up under it, surely?

The rather industrial backdrop of garages and workshops doesn't exactly lend itself to an atmospheric location and the chikcen wire fence is less than lovely but this really is a site/sight to behold
Vicster Posted by Vicster
21st August 2006ce

Massive dolman just outside Carlow town. Cap stone is 130 tons and is said to be the biggest in Europe. It has a small layby for cars.

One word about this is MASSIVE. The capstone itself is made of granite and I still have the scrapes in my belt buckle from where I scrabbled up. The dolman itself feels much more like a huge rock they managed to prop up with some stones and its a good way down if you fell off the top.

Over all the site felt to me much more male (a la Stonehenge) in its vibe. Not somewhere I felt relaxed but some where I relaxed as I left.
Posted by Heron
14th July 2004ce