Exploring Waterford's Ancient Monuments

Knockeen Dolmen

Knockeen Dolmen

An imposing sight, this much visited megalith of international renown, has two capstones which is common to the area. 

It's uprights (orthostats) measure 2.8 metres tall and the overall height of the monument is 3.5 metres. 

The small Capstone at the South-East end measures 1.90 X 1.29 metres while the larger one (which it supports to make level) is 3.8 X 2.1 metres.

A feature of the tomb is a small 'Keyhole' entrance that may have been used to offer food to the spirits of the dead or for access to those performing rituals.

This measures 0.80 metre in height and is 0.5 metre at the base.

As is quite common with Portal Tombs, the entrance faces uphill and in this case is facing North West.

A flat surfaced upright free standing 'Doorstone' ( photos below) has been recessed back from the NW orthostats, thus creating a 'porch – like' area at the entrance which faces a gentle uphill slope. This stone, which doesn't support the Capstone, measures 1.9 m tall, 0.86 m wide and is 0.53 m in thickness.

The chamber measures 2 metres long and 1.3 metres in width and is 2.7 metres in height. This means that the average person can easily stand up inside it. Access (with a bit of a squeeze) can be gained by using the 'Keyhole' entrance at the SW side.  The stones of which the monument is constructed have been described as Felspathic Dark-Grey Trap, which is the stone of the area.

Today, the structure serves as part of a boundary between two fields and has been incorporated into the wall of the overgrown graveyard surrounding the ruined church of Kilburne. One would assume that the siting of the church and cemetery which has gravestones dating to the mid 1700's, must have been heavily influenced by the tomb which was constructd thousands of years earlier.

Unlike some other Portal Tombs in Waterford which have had remedial work carried out using concrete, this tomb stands in its original state.

It is one of Waterford's outstanding monuments and certainly ranks among the finest portal tombs in Ireland.


               Keyhole entrance                              Doorstone facing NW                 Doorstone  (inside chamber)        



                Capstones from the South East    



Directions: Take the N25 ( Cork Road) out of Waterford City till you reach the first major roundabout (Butlerstown roundabout). Turn left here and drive to the second roundabout (Sixcrossroads) and take right turn. A short way down go through the Sixcrossroads veering right. Continue to a Y junction and take left. After 1km on a down slope you will come to a farmyard on the left. A gate opposite leads across a field to the tomb which is sheltered by some trees.


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