Search icon


14th Jul 2023

Have you noticed the 4,500 year old dolmen in the Phoenix Park?

Emily Mullen

Dublin’s largest park has a lot of surprises

Many have walked past this seemingly ordinary collection of rocks during their strolls around the Pheonix Park and not even known it was a 4,500-year-old dolmen.

Known as the ‘Knockmaree Dolmen’ is so named for the small ridge on which it stands on the Upper Glen Road, just north of Chapelizod. The cist structure is a burial chamber dating back to between 3000 B.C. to 2500 B.C, with a large (6ft 5in) capstone which is believed to be water-worn by the nearby river Liffey is supported by smaller stones (3 ft 5 in).

It was first discovered by workmen in 1838, who were tasked with removing a tumulus of height 15 feet and circumference 120 feet. Inside the prehistoric tomb, two male skeletons aged about 40 and 50 years in a crouched position to fit the small space, shell jewellery, a flint knife, and other artefacts. ⁠

The style of the tomb is known as the ‘Linkardstown burial’, after a megalithic grave found in Carlow, it’s common to find such tombs situated on hilltops.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Lovin Dublin (@lovindublin)

Following a fire in the 1970s resulted in a crack appearing in the capstone of the Knockmaree Dolmen was repaired and in the 1990s subsequent repair work was carried out including the addition of a concrete block to support the capstone. More recently, in early 2023 more repair was carried out as part of the capstone had cracked off. It was reported that tire tracks were seen near the dolmen, suggesting that the structure may have been struck by some form of heavy machinery. The Office of Public Works stated that the damage was caused by the failure of the earlier repairs.

Thankfully the site around the tomb has been protected with temporary fencing and signage which will hopefully prevent any further damage.

READ ON: Have you noticed the fake plaque on O’Connell bridge?