It’s often the case that when you have something ‘on your doorstep’ that it’s ignored for another time. And that was certainly the case, for me, when I decided to check out the Dolmen near Ballybrack village. I knew about it for a long time but had put my visit on the long finger until a few days ago. It was warm and sunny when I arrived, and the old stones looked bright and sharp in the middle of the green that is almost surrounded by modern houses. (It is on a green in Cromlech Fields, and it’s no surprise that cromlech is another word often used to describe such ancient structures.) What was it like here on the day the last stone was put in place, I wondered, and walked to the group of heavy stones.
I read that the large, roof stone weighs about twelve tons and that must have taken some effort to set it in place. Thinking about that and the commitment of those who first decided and then erected the structure it must have been important to them, and it’s a statement of the focus and skill that it is still standing after, possibly, more than four millennia. A small, stone beside the dolmen says that it is a Dolmen, Portal Tomb, circa 2,500 BC – a timeframe that is impossible to understand. Since that time, getting on for nearly five thousand years, almost all of recorded history has come and gone and the dolmen is still standing and awaiting the next sunrise.
There are many dolmens around the country and, having one so close to home and easy to visit, it was a real treat to see it and think about druids in flowing robes carrying out mystical rituals by firelight back in the mists of time.