Dolmen 13, the Carrowmore Druid's Altar is located right beside the Seafield road, just a few hundred meters north of the
visitor centre. The circle of this monument was destroyed, and the stones used to construct a boundary wall sometime before Petrie's 1837 visit. The circle was about thirteen meters in diameter when complete.
remains is a large and impressive dolmen or chamber capped by a huge split boulder.
The whole effect resembles a huge mushroom, much the same way that the Phantom Stones evoke a giant turtle. The stones used in this monument are all gneiss erratic from the Ballygawley mountains.
When Wood-Martin excavated the
monument, he found it had already been cleared, most likely by Roger Walker. He
found 600g cremated bone, fragments of shells, small pebbles, charcoal,
and a piece of glass.
This monument was hit in a car crash in 1985; the occupant of the car was killed and the capstone was badly displaced, sliding away to the east. The dolmen
was later repaired by Swedish archaeologi cal teamusing a crane, but the capstone has slumped down again.
This site and the nearby Kissing Stone are believed to mark the gateway or entry point into the ring of the Carrowmore complex, and as is often
the case in Ireland, the modern road may well follow the route of the
original routeway. There was a lot of activity in this area during both the Bronze and Iron ages.
Like the Kissing Stone, dolmen 13 is large enough for a person or two to squeexe into the chamber, and
has a short passageway pointing away from the centre of the complex towards the north.
Borlase: - No. 13.
It is the first dolmen seen by the traveller
on the road from Sligo to Carrowmore.
'"This circle has been destroyed
by the road passing through it, but the cromleac remains, and is a fine
monument of its kind. The table-stone is 20 feet in circumference, and
is supported by six stones; but on the west side, or head, there are four
more stones, lengthening the grave, as frequently occurs in such monuments."
"On the north side" ( Petrie's east side ), "it has the peculiar porch-like
entrance of 10, but it is difficult to decide whether it was a purposed
lengthening of the grave..... or whether the monument had been originally
a double cromleac. The cap-stone resembles in shape the head of a mushroom."
The results of a search among the contents of the area under the covering-stone
which had been thrown out and replaced perhaps, or overlooked during a
previous search, "consisted of four hundred and twenty-eight small
fragments of clay-coloured bones, and twenty pieces of charcoal. There
was no appearance of the action of fire, and yet the bones must have been
burned, though imperfectly, as some few fragments show the crack-like
marks produced by fire, and noticed in other sepulchres.
There were also
fragments of shells, small pebbles, and much fine brown humus and sand.
Of the uncovered portion of the monument two stones remain. Close to and
under one of these was found, in situ, a 'pocket' of calcined bones and
an amorphous fragment of greenish glass, coated with a thick, whitish
Petrie is said to have found "opaque blue-glass ornaments
in cairns in the north of Ireland." - Wood-Martin.
I found, together with urns, calcined remains, vitreous, barrel-like beds,
etc., in an encircled cairn raised around a natural rock on the cliff
at Boscregan in West Cornwall, a thick piece of dark-blue glass which
had become iridescent, seemingly a portion of a globular bottle of no
great size. The thickness of the glass in comparison with that of Roman
glass of the ordinary lachrymatory type was remarkable.