The Knockavally Portal Tomb near Clifden in Galway is an ancient burial chamber, also known as a dolmen, and is one of the oldest megalithic monuments in the country. 

A portal tomb is a type of megalithic monument that consists of two or more upright stones supporting a large horizontal stone called a capstone. The stones form a chamber that was used to bury the dead, often with grave goods such as pottery, jewellery and tools. The chamber was usually covered by a mound of earth or stones called a cairn. Portal tombs are found mainly in Ireland, Wales and Cornwall, and date back to the Neolithic period (around 4000-2500 BC).

The Knockavally Portal Tomb is located high up on a level plateau, north of Clifden, the largest town in Connemara. It is situated on a circular mound or cairn that measures 10 metres in diameter. The tomb is oriented northwest-southeast, and has a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. 

The Knockavally Portal Tomb consists of three large slabs of stone that remain from the original structure. The first slab is an erect portal stone at the north end of the chamber, measuring 1.7 metres in height. The second slab is a side stone on the north side of the chamber, leaning against the portal stone. The third slab is an enormous capstone that has slipped to the back of the chamber at the west end. The capstone is estimated to measure 2.3 metres in length, 1.85 metres in width and 0.75 metres in depth. It is heavily embedded into the soil, so it is difficult to appreciate its full size.

The Knockavally Portal Tomb is a testament to the engineering skills and cultural beliefs of the Neolithic people who built it. It shows that they had the ability to transport and manipulate large stones using simple tools and techniques. It also shows that they had a complex and sophisticated worldview that involved rituals and ceremonies related to death and the afterlife. The tomb was probably used by a local community or clan as a collective burial place for their ancestors. The tomb may have also served as a marker of territory or identity, as well as a focal point for social gatherings and celebrations.

The Knockavally Portal Tomb is open to the public and free to visit. However, it is located on private land, so you will need to ask permission from the landowner before accessing it. You will also need to be careful not to damage or disturb the site or its surroundings.


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Knockavally Portal Tomb



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