The dolmen at Kilclooney in County Donegal, which dates from circa. 3500 BC, is a very fine example of a dolmen, or portal tomb and is thought to be one of the best, if not the best, in Ireland. (A dolment, also called a portal tomb megalithic buriel chamber). The Kilclooney dolmen sits on a small hill about 4 miles north north west of Ardara. Take the R261 out of Ardara heading for Portnoo and Narin. After about 5 km/ miles you will come to a bend in the road where the road turns down to Narin and Portnoo. At this bend you will see a church on your right (St. Conal's) and the Dolmen Centre facing you.
This is Kilclooney. Park your car in the carpark of the Dolmen Centre and, facing the church, the laneway to Kilclooney Dolman is at the side of a farmhouse situated to the left of the church. Walk up the side of the farmhouse keeping to the right so as not to walk in the owners garden. The owner is Nellie McNelis and she told us that she does not expect people to call to her to ask permission to enter her land but simply that they close the gate to the land both on entry and exit and to also take care of their children while on the land. Nellie is a lovely lady An Unclaimed Treasure as she says! For people who have been to the dolmen before and knew her brother Tony, Tony passed away on July the 4th this year (2006). RIP Tony McNelis.
Don't worry about the noisy dog that will rush out at you all guns blazing! His name is Benson and he is the nicest dog and will accompany you all the way to the dolmen and back for the price of throwing a few sticks for him. You would be advised to wear wellington boots or waterproof shoes as the path to the dolmen can be wet and boggy in places. The walk is about a quarter of a mile off the road and is only gently sloping. The dolmen will come into sight after a short distance and it is stunning even from a way away.
The dolmen is almost completely intact and measures approximately 13 feet long, 20 feet across, and stands over 6 feet high, making it one of the largest in Ireland. The portals support the capstone which looked at from different angles resembles a whale, a dolphin, an alligator, or any one of many other things depending on where you stand and your own imagination. The lower end of the capstone is supported by a small stone onto the backstone whereas normally the capstone is supported at the lower end solely by a backstone. It is thought that this extra stone was perhaps to allow extra light to shine through.
Just behind the dolmen is a second and much smaller dolmen. This smaller one however is partly collapsed but still very identifiable. There is also a court tomb about 160 feet/500 metres to the east of the dolmen.
Click on any of the photos below to enlarge
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