Guest Author - Mary Ellen Sweeney
The word Dolmen literally means “stone table.” Poulnabrone means “The Hole of the Sorrows” and it is one of the table-top Dolmen, upright stone burial cairns with flat stone tops. The magnificent Poulnabrone Dolmen in the Burren of County Clare, Ireland, is one of the most familiar of the Dolmen and dates back over 5000 years. The ancient Celts honored their ancestors by building these communal crypt-like dwellings for their mortal remains.
There are many theories about the inspiration for the Dolmen. Were they meant solely to house the remains and prized possessions of the deceased, a symbol of wealth and respect for the forbears, or were they perhaps a warning against potential invaders? Was there a message being sent: “We come from people so fierce that even their ghosts must be kept in high style in these sturdy tombs?” Or were these loving gestures, durable messages over time that “These are our people, and we cherish them as much in death as we did in life?” Whatever the whisper from the stones that speaks true to you, there is an undeniable fact about the Dolmen. They represent a still-strong Celtic culture already old in 2500 B.C., where the people expressed their reverence for traditions in a way so steadfast and enduring that it’s still there to wonder over today.
The Burren is a treasure for those interested in the ancient Celts. There are over 60 dolmen there.
Dolmen Suite in Waterford Crystal