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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 7 July, 2020

Double Take: The stone seat in the Phoenix Park that's actually an ancient tomb

Head through the Chapelizod gate to find one of Dublin city’s oldest monuments.

DUBLIN’S PHOENIX PARK is famous for a number of reasons, globally. As well as being the home to the President of Ireland and various deer, it’s one of Europe’s largest enclosed parks.

Aside from all that, the 7 sq km park is also home to an unexpected piece of history: Knockmaree Dolmen, an ancient single-chamber tomb that’s one of Dublin’s city’s oldest monuments, and that pre-dates the park itself by at least 4,000 years.

Upon first glance, the slabs of stone resemble a table or a welcoming bench, but in reality the site dates back to 3,000 BC and was the resting place of two ancient Dublin residents.

While Ireland has many megalithic dolmens, they’re typically scattered around rural areas, mainly southern Leinster and Munster, so to find one such a central part of the country is unusual.

The dolmen’s discovery is recorded as 1838. According to Curious Ireland, local workmen were tasked with removing a large mound, under which they found the tomb and a large underground chamber containing two “almost complete” ancient male skeletons along with urns, bowls and other artefacts.

A smaller dolmen structure originally stood on a mound beside Knockmaree Dolmen, but was removed in 1852.

Since that adjustment, little has changed about Knockmaree Dolmen’s appearance – although the skeletons have since been moved on too.

These days, you can visit the spot by accessing the park via the Chapelizod Road and heading north of Upper Glen Road. Find it on a map right about here.

More: Unsung Galway – a guide to the city in 7 underappreciated buildings

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