With castles and looming nineteenth century manors, Ireland is well-known for its well-preserved parts of modern history. With much less fanfare, however, Ireland also has a number of well-preserved pieces of ancient history, such as Newgrange, and various portal tombs scattered around the island. While there are over one hundred and seventy portal tombs in Ireland in various states, none is more well-known, visited, and photographed than the Poulnabrone Portal Tomb. Before discussing the many unique features of Poulnabrone, it’s helpful to have a frame of reference as to what “Portal Tombs” or “Dolmens” were. While no one is entirely sure what portal tombs were constructed for, given the length of time that has passed – some five to six thousand years – they are classified as two standing stones standing parallel that are covered by a large top roof stone (known as a “capstone”). And, while no one knows exactly for sure, the “portal” aspect of the tomb was that of a gateway to the “Otherworld” – either keeping it out of our world, or for providing access between realms.
Throughout the entirety of Ireland, ruins of castles, old buildings, mansions, and various other structures dot the countryside. In addition to these modern ruins, other, older ruins from Neolithic times hide under hills and other spots. All of these remnants of the past provide Ireland as a whole with a unique charm, and offer unique opportunities for those travelers who wish to experience locations that are off the beaten path. While some of these locations are on private property, and are inaccessible, some of these locations are well preserved, and hidden in plain sight in various spots of the country, such as Corcomroe Abbey.