This very ruined portal tomb is quite easy to find, but hard to see, as it is situated behind a wall next to the 2nd tee on a par 3 golf course. This is the best and easiest way to approach it.
Unfortunately, it lies forgotten in its misery surrounded by bracken and brambles, its presence unknown by those staning just 20m away hitting little white balls with metal sticks.
The capstone is huge and rivals that found at Browne's Hill and is now supported by just one of the portal stones , the other lying in the ground near by.
I originally refered to this place as Woodtown, but this site is referred to as "Mount Venus" in "The History and Antiquities of Tallaght In The County of Dublin" By William Domville Handcock (1899). I have since found out that this is its proper name.
Portal tombs are what most people wrongly refer to as dolmens. They are, to me at least, the most strikingly designed of the megalithic tombs. They are called portal tombs because they have two large upright stones, usually very well matched, in front of the chamber that seem to form a doorway.
Resting upon the portal stones and the chamber a large capstone rests (sometimes there are two capstones - see Knockeen (County Waterford)), usually at an angle of around 22 degrees from the horizontal. Although these were originally incorporated into one end of a long cairn there are none left in this state today, although traces of the cairn can sometimes be seen upon the ground. The portal stones can be up to 3.5m tall, which combined with a thick capstone can produce an imposing monument over 5m tall. Capstones can reach in excess of 70 tonnes, with that of Browne's Hill (County Carlow) being estimated at over 120 tonnes.
Often betwen the portal stones there is a door slab, blocking the width of the entrance, but not always the full height. Door slabs are either half height, three quarter height or full height, describing the amount of the portal that they obstruct. All portal tombs would have had door slab, but this has often been removed to facilitate entry into the chamber.
Quite rarely the portal stones are the same height as the chamber and the characteristic slope of the capstone is created by the profile of the capstone (see Glendruid (County Dublin)).
The large rock used to form the roof of a portal tomb or kist.
Portal stones are a pair of upright stones that form the 'entrance' to a portal tomb. They are usually well matched, being of even dimensions. As well as forming this doorway they also act as the front support for the capstone and are usually taller than the stones that form the chamber.
Often there is a door stone in between them blocking off access to the chamber within.
Considering I drive past this so often it is surprising that this is only the second time that I have stopped off here. The bracken and brambles, although still very much present, have died back right now, allowing a better view of this spartan monument.
This trip also allowed me to take some pictures with me by it for scale - because it is so much bigger than it looks in the photos. The golf course has gone now - or for now - I am not sure what they are building on this land. It could be a big house or a new club house, only time will tell. Access to the tomb is still simple. The old golf club car park is still there and you can walk through a field to one side of the 'Paddock' gates.
Follow the R115 south from Rathfarnham until you reach Woodtown. Turn left onto the R113 and look out for a golf course on the right after about 400m. Park here. Walk to the second tee and look right and you will see a wall with a breach. The tomb is behind this wall.
This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.
Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.
Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.
The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.
UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.
ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.