BLACKROCK DOLMEN BY ROWAN GILLESPIE [TEMPLE ROAD BLACKROCK]
The Blackrock Dolmen, by Rowan Gillespie, depicts three elegantly elongated figures holding up a large capstone to symbolise the essence of Blackrock. The figures – two male and one female – are of cast bronze, whilst the capstone is of lighter, resin bronze on fibreglass and is in the typical triangular form of a dolmen.
Located at Temple Road in Blackrock, next to the Blackrock by-pass.
A dolmen is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more vertical megaliths supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (“table”), although there are also more complex variants. Most date from the early Neolithic (4000–3000 BC). Dolmens were typically covered with earth or smaller stones to form a tumulus. In many instances, that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone “skeleton” of the burial mound intact.
It remains unclear when, why, and by whom the earliest dolmens were made. The oldest known dolmens are in Western Europe, where they were set in place around 7,000 years ago. Archaeologists still do not know who erected these dolmens, which makes it difficult to know why they did it. They are generally all regarded as tombs or burial chambers, despite the absence of clear evidence for this. Human remains, sometimes accompanied by artefacts, have been found in or close to the dolmens which could be scientifically dated using radiocarbon dating. However, it has been impossible to prove that these remains date from the time when the stones were originally set in place.
The largest dolmen in Europe is the Brownshill Dolmen in County Carlow, Ireland. Its capstone weighs about 150 tonnes.