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Portal Tomb

<b>Glendruid</b>Posted by mound-dwellerImage © mound-dweller
Also known as:
  • Brennanstown Dolmen
  • Cabinteely Dolmen

Nearest Town:Bray (6km SE)
OS Ref (IE):   O229242 / Sheet: 50
Latitude:53° 15' 13.78" N
Longitude:   6° 9' 31.26" W

Added by FourWinds

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Photographs:<b>Glendruid</b>Posted by mound-dweller <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by mound-dweller <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by CianMcLiam Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Glendruid</b>Posted by Rhiannon <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by Rhiannon <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by Jane <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by Jane <b>Glendruid</b>Posted by Jane


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My partner and I very recently moved to the Republic of Ireland for school, and have been staying in the Dún Laoghaire area, trying to see as many prehistoric sites in the area as possible. On a previous visit last year we learned about Glendruid but didn't have the opportunity to visit. We intended to remedy that when we arrived this time, and paid a visit to the Valley Of The Druid on August 8th.

Going up the Brennanstown road, we attempted to find the oft-mentioned 'Dolmen House' to request access like polite earth-worshippers, but either it has been renamed or taken under new management since the last reports because a home of that name was nowhere to be found along the road in the vicinity of the dolmen. Upon asking at a house which mapping programs assured us was the closest to the site of the dolmen, we were instructed by an unseen voice inside the house, via the medium of a "ring light," that we had to trek back and take the Lehaunstown road around to the other side of the eponymous valley in order to visit Glendruid. Alright, off we go!

Off we trekked down the aforementioned lane, intending to continue our streak of politeness and ask in at a nearby home for the best way to visit. The residents of the last house on the right before the Lehaunstown road passes over a tramway and veers away from the area of the dolmen, however, left in an automobile as soon as we arrived, and were unavailable for megalith-related inquiries. Using our natural-born smarts and sense of direction, we wandered a short ways back down the lane and discovered a break in the hedge where one might scramble over a low stone wall and gain access to the hinterland beyond and thereby draw closer to the dolmen. The opening was marked by a fetching purple graffito of a fish - future seekers are advised to keep an eye out for this! Beyond the wall, we passed through a small meadow before entering a moist and appealing patch of Irish Atlantic Rainforest, which, according to our mapping programs, hugged the edges of a headwater of the Laughlinstown River as it proceeded to river and onwards to the Irish Sea. Descending into the Valley, following a rough trail through the trees and ferns, we soon discovered a more established path following the water upstream towards the site of the dolmen. At a certain point there emerges an open spot in the foliage to the right of the trail, where one can spot a rocky ford. An elderly man with an expensive-looking digital camera was present here, and upon informing him of our mission to visit the prehistoric power site he let us know that the best way across was a short scramble over a tree nearby that had fallen across the waterway. Following this advice, we emerged...

...into Glendruid! The back of the house we had asked at earlier was visible on the hill immediately opposite the ford, separated from us by an apparently impenetrable boundary of ferns and dense, wild, green growth. Off to our right and down a short trail is the dolmen itself - grand, weighty, utterly massive, its capstone radiating earth energies, appearing to brood over the landscape. Previous photos of this site available on The Modern Antiquarian and Megalithic Ireland show the dolmen standing in a neatly-mown lawn of short grass - not so on our visit! The entire small valley, enclosed on three sides by rainforest and one side by steep hill, was filled with living and dead wildflowers, tall grasses, ferns, and "weeds," in some places knee-high, in others above our heads. The dolmen appears to emerge out of this, but does not seem to tower over the landscape as it would in more tamed surroundings. Rather, like some great stone tortoise, it hunkers down among the foliage. The chamber enclosed by the upright stones is impressive, easy to stand up and move within and able to easily accommodate a crowd of 5 or 6 stone-seekers. The capstone emanates a sense of unfathomable weight from underneath, but the orthostats (and concrete reinforcement, courtesy of the OPW) seem to handle it easily. All in all, a deeply affecting place, and one in which the journey of discovery figures heavily in the overall experience. The trip back out to Cabinteely by the same route we entered was less arduous, knowing the way.

A couple weeks later, on August 23rd, I made a solitary return visit to the Valley Of The Druid. On this trip, I was informed by some local adolescents that there is an alternate path to Glendruid that follows the river all the way from the Lehaunstown road. About a half-kilometer from the turn-off of the Brennanstown road, the Lehaunstown road crosses the river, and the water can be heard rushing by underneath the massive stone bridge. On the north side of the road here, there is an opening in the foliage that allows on to enter into the rainforest and, once inside, discover a track along the water that leads all the way to the fording site mentioned above. This trail leads through much denser and considerably more fae sections of the forest than that crossed in the trek from the meadow, and is well worth a look-see.

Safe stoning!
Posted by mound-dweller
28th August 2023ce

Parking on the Brennanstown road is now impossible and I hadn't felt like asking at Dolmen House for permission to park the car AND go through their garden, so I was left to wonder and research an alternative route. There has been a fair bit of development in the area since I was last here 14 years ago. A friend who grew up in the locality gave me a few hints, but none came to fruition – he hasn't lived there for years. So with a bit of time and google maps I took a risk and leaped another field gate, south-east of the site at Lehaunstown Lane.

The dolmen is well known and marked on google maps so I was able to trek through the field in its general direction before picking up a track that leads north, down into the valley. You must pass through another old gate, into the broadleaf forest and onto a pathway that runs down to the stream and then west alongside the southern edge of the stream. Ignore the bridge you encounter on reaching the valley floor – there is no way through from there. Pass further along for about 200 metres until you reach a fairly obvious ford in the stream. Cross here.

The dolmen was still not in sight yet but the anticipation was rising. The track from the stream to the tomb is well-used and we surmounted the fallen tree and rounded the bend and there it is. Even LM was impressed. The capstone immediately draws your attention. The flat plane of the north-west corner is striking. The whole of the capstone has been obviously sculpted, its underside completely flat. Estimated at 60 tons, the mind boggles at the effort to first sculpt and then raise it.

Knowing that it remains standing by the grace of some serious reinforcing concrete doesn't detract from its magnificence. The portals support the heavier end and are taller than they look from first glance – the ground level of the chamber is well below the field level and both stones are well embedded. The southern sidestone is collapsing into the chamber, rescued from inundation and possible obliteration by the concrete. Both it and its northern counterpart are immense. The concrete reinforcing abuts the northern sidestone and takes the weight of the capstone here, the stepped sculpting of the sidestone visible.

We’re not supposed to climb these monuments, but Glendruid is irresistible. The turtle-backed capstone has a curved runnel that goes from corner to corner and may have been carved to let water run off the sides, away from the rear of the chamber. The slope from back to front is quite steep, mild vertigo kicking in for me and reminding me I’m not as young as I used to be. The dimensions of the stone are 5.1 metres long by 4.5 metres wide and the almost square plan of the thing is apparent from a few angles and especially so from on top of its front end.

We stayed a while here today in the heat of a mid-September Indian summer, undisturbed and carefree. The depths of the steep-sided valley floor shield you from the wiles of the suburbs for a while and you can imagine a time before complication, sheltered by the sturdiness of Glendruid’s accomplishment. But then you have to ascend, the pull of an ice-cream on an 11-year-old mind irresistible.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
18th September 2020ce
Edited 28th September 2020ce

Deceptively small as you approach, you catch a glimpse of it through the trees at the top of the hill. As you scamble down the slope into the intimacy of the tiny valley below you become aware of the sound of the babbling of a brook just behind it, and the dolmen seems to enlarge in front of your very eyes!

And suddenly it becomes massive, significant and overwhelming. The capstone is vast and completely flat on its underside and front aspect. Some of the support stones have been stepped in order for the angle of the capstone to be just-so. And its deep too. the chamber at least two feet below the level of the ground surrounding. We sat, and looked and looked. I drew, and despite the cold and I couldn't resist painting the beast directly. It took ages for the paint to dry, but the result was worth it.

Feelings? You know that little tingle of excitement...

Ah! This really is the dolmen of my dreams - and HUGE thanks to the delightful Four Winds for taking me there.
Jane Posted by Jane
16th February 2003ce


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Facebook page with news about developments at Brennanstown.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
25th October 2021ce

George Eastman House Archive

An old photo of Glendruid by an unidentified photographer. Sadly the photo is undated, but it's on a glass transparency, which gives an idea of when it was taken.
Kammer Posted by Kammer
10th June 2004ce