Haroldstown, Portal Tomb, Co. Carlow.

Location – You can’t miss this tomb; it is right on the R727 and is clearly visible from the road.

OS: S 901 779 (map 61).  
Longitude: 6° 39' 45.39" W
Latitude: 52° 50' 40.38" N

Description and History – This portal dolmen has to rank among my favourite sites in Ireland.   I had seen pictures of it before but they do not really prepare you for this site.   It really took my breath away and I can see many return visits to this place.  It is much much smaller than Browne’s Hill and I suspect that the whole tomb of Haroldstown is no bigger than the capstone at Browne’s Hill.  The double capstone forms a long shape which really captures the imagination.  It is possible to spend hours looking at this tomb which looks like some huge prehistoric fossil.  Facing the NNW the upper capstone is 4m in length and 3.2m wide while the lower stone is 3.2m in length and 2.4m wide. The chamber is very well preserved with the two portal stones about 2m in height (the Archaeological Inventory doesn’t give a height and I stupidly forgot my tape measure!) and a closing stone up to full height.  Side stones are mostly in place apart from one which is missing.  I suspect that this stone was removed to give access to the chamber.  It’s nice to go inside (you can easily stand up to full height) but it would be nicer with the missing stone in place.  It is located in a field used for grazing cattle (luckily none the day I was there) and they obviously like to trample around the tomb, which could undermine the structure, but doesn't appear to be doing to at present.

Difficulty – It is very easy to find but there is a complete lack of places to park nearby. There are two field entrances nearby but with the sharp bends this may not be advisable since you can’t get completely off the road.  I parked at a nearby dump in the end. The tomb is, however, on private land so permission is always advisable. 

 
 
 
 
 
 Looking out from the chamber.

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