Photographer's Note

The mysterious and haunting atmosphere of The Burren adds to the sense of the Poulnabrone dolmen being an entrance to another world and another time.

In the west of Ireland, rising from the rugged cliffs of the Atlantic coastline, lies The Burren region of County Clare. A bleak, lunar landscape of gnarled and weathered limestone slabs, without trees or shrubs, yet with a unique collection of Arctic, Alpine and Mediterranean wild flowers that have become internationally famous. Glaciation and erosion over thousands of years has produced this eerie landscape, but there is also evidence that deforestation employed by the Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers of pre-history contributed to its present day appearance.

The Burren is littered with the remains of these early settlers – dolmens, cairns, wedge-tombs, raths, and ring forts, bear testimony to the many different peoples who in the distant past made their home here. Poulnabrone dolmen is one the most spectacular of these monuments, and probably the most frequently photographed dolmen in the whole of Ireland. Slabs of limestone rise from the stone pavement of The Burren, supporting the large tilted capstone, which forms the roof of the small chamber standing at the centre of a low, circular cairn.

Here, five thousand years ago the Tuatha de Danaan, the Shining Ones or Fairy Folk of Irish legend, performed their magic.

Here, the people of the Neolithic era placed the remains of their ancestors, visiting the shrine to perform their rituals and ceremonies.

Here they made contact with the spirit world, perhaps placating the gods with sacrifice to ensure the fertility of their crops, their livestock and their clan.

The figures and voices of the past have long faded leaving us to speculate on the lives of our ancestors of five thousand years ago, their world outlook, and their spiritual beliefs. Here at Poulnabrone we are haunted by the closeness of their presence, yet frustrated by the abyss of time and silence that stands between us.

Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2 Windows
Exposure Time: 1/60
F-Stop: f/14
ISO Speed Ratings: 100
Focal Length: 10/1 mm

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Additional Photos by Stephen Emerson (Signal-Womb) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 429 W: 2 N: 2153] (13048)
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