Without a doubt the most memorable side trip of our eight days in Ireland was a visit to the Portal Tomb or Poulnabrone Dolmen in County Clare. We drove out to the tomb on our last full day on the island while the men played golf at Lahinch. I’d almost despaired that we’d have no opportunity to see such a place, but the wait was worth it.
As we drove through the Burren toward the tomb the landscape took on an otherworldly aspect, with outcroppings of limestone competing with short grasses and bursts of wildflowers. Our driver parked the bus and a blast of cold wind greeted us, but didn’t deter us from scampering up the hill to the Poulnabrone.
I spoke with a gentleman who helps keep watch over the crowds of visitors. He said that vandals have found ways to carve initials into the stones, have removed small stones, and have even urinated on the tomb. I can’t imagine the callous disregard for something so ancient.