Brownshill Dolmen (Dolmain Chnoc an Bhrúnaigh) aka Kernanstown Cromlech

Brownshill Dolmen


Location: 3 km (2 mi) East of Carlow (off R726 road) Map

Open: daily


Description of Brownshill Dolmen


Brownshill Dolmen is an ancient megalithic structure listed on the Irish National Monument. Brownshill Dolmen was constructed between 4000 BC and 3000 BC this dolmen probably marked the grave of an important chieftain of the tribe. Later it was used in rituals. Structure's largest stone weights at 100 metric tons. Brownshill Dolmen is considered one of the heaviest megalithic structures in Europe from the time period. Surprisingly the square shaped flat stone that blocks the entrance to the inner chamber and presumed tomb is still in place and probably was never removed from its original location.


It has the largest Capstone of all the megalithic sites in the British Isles. It consists of 100 tons of granite and is 4.7 m × 6.1 m in size at a thickness of about two meters. The cover stone rests in three-point support on the two portal stones and a lying end Stone. The so-called door Stone is still present and another stone is free in front of the plant.
There are three theories about how this huge stone was placed in this Position. In all, the cover Stone has been found on site and has not been transported from further afield.
The first theory is that the builders did not move the cover stone at all. They can have individually dug holes into which the three supporting stones were placed, and then carried off the Earth on which the stone lay, in order to effect the current appearance of the Dolmen.
Second, the builders could have set up the three supporting stones and then built a ground ramp on which the cover Stone was leveled into the present Position using timber.
The third theory states that they have levelled up the edge of the cover stone. The resulting cavity was filled with Earth and stones and in this way they successively built each of the three supporting stones.