Knockmaroon Cromlech

Knockmaroon Cromlech (1)

I came across this Megalithic Tomb by complete accident whilst researching something else. However finding the darn thing was a different matter. As usual I now go out armed with all site co-ordinates uploaded to my GPS, but the location I entered from the satellite imagery was incorrect and I had to locate the tomb the old fashioned way. I eventually narrowed my search down to a hill to the rear of St. Mary’s Hospital. There is a heritage signpost on the main road adjacent the hill but it gives a false impression as to the true location. The Park is home to many monuments of interest but I shall address these at another time.

Knockmaroon Cromlech (2)

Cromlech is a Brythonic word (Breton/Cornish/Welsh) used to describe prehistoric megalithic structures, where crom means “bent” or “curved” and llech means “slab” or “flagstone”. The term is now virtually obsolete in archaeology, but remains in use as a colloquial term for two different types of megalithic monument. In English it usually refers to dolmens, the remains of prehistoric stone chamber tombs. The Cromlech is obviously a megalithic tomb and dates from about 2500 to 1700 BC. This would make it older than the passage grave in the Boyne Valley. It appears to be the oldest such tomb that I have to date encountered in Dublin and it is probably the smallest of its kind in the country.

 Knockmaroon Cromlech (3)

The Cromlech at Knockmaroon takes its name from the Gaelic “Cnoc-Maraidhe” and is also known as ‘Knockmaridhe’, ‘Knockmary Dolmen’ & ‘Cnoc-Maraidhe’ or ‘Hill of the Mariners’. It was discovered in 1838 by workmen whom were removing an ancient Tumulus. Excavation of the mound, revealed a central cist consisting of five upright stones supporting the large capstone.  The cromlech is the only element of the mound which survives today. It is said to have contained the remains of at least three individuals all male, one of which was incomplete.  Also found within the burial were a shell necklace, a bone toggle and a flint blade.  A Captain Larcom of the Royal Engineers was credited with stopping the work in order for the Royal Academy to study the find.

 Knockmaroon Cromlech (4)

Despite its relative seclusion within the park the top slab of the tomb has visible cracks, on the surface with signs of attempted restoration being carried out. You can also see that a concrete pillar has been added to support the top slab. There is a reconstruction of what the burial mound would have looked like prior to its disturbance on display at the Ashtown Castle Visitors Center in the Phoenix Park. Skeletons, pottery and other such artefacts removed from the site are now in the National Museum.

Knockmaroon Cromlech (5)

Knockmaroon Cromlech (6)

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About edmooneyphotography

Photographer, Blogger, Ruinhunter, with an unhealthy obsession for history, mythology and the arcane.
This entry was posted in Diary of a Ruinhunter, Historical, Neolithic, People, Photography, Places of Interest, Ruins and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Knockmaroon Cromlech

  1. Ali Isaac says:

    Fabulous, atmospheric pics, as always, and fascinating commentary. I want to go there…


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  3. cathrynbauer says:

    Hi, I was in a cemetery in downtown Aberdeen and saw tombs that resembled tabletops, two slabs at the ends supporting a long slab. I found them curious and could not guess at the reasons for such a tomb design. I now wonder whether they might have been Victorian-era iterations of the cromlech? Thoughts or knowledge on this? And yes, fabulous photos.


    • Very interesting Cathryn, I would really need to see the tomb to comment. Would you have an image or a link that i could look at?
      It is however plausible as the Victorians were quite fond of building Folly’s, or fake ruins.
      I have seen some similar tombs to what you have described in various graveyards around Ireland, have not investigated them further.
      I would seriously doubt that your find would be a copy of the cromlech as both burials are quite different. Its something definatly worth looking into 🙂


  4. mcsirishart says:

    Great work – lovely to see!


  5. princella101 says:

    These images were beautiful and the write up was very educational and interesting. I’m very glad to have come across your blog!


  6. Jo Woolf says:

    Wonderful – what an amazing find, and I’m glad the excavated remains and artefacts weren’t lost.


  7. gtonthenet says:

    Love these ancient monuments – they are great to photograph


  8. Pingback: Brownshill Dolmen | EdMooneyPhotography

  9. Pingback: 2013 My Photo-Blog Adventure | EdMooneyPhotography

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