Rostellan Dolmen, Cork, Ireland

Rostellan Dolmen is certainly one of the most unique portal tombs in Ireland, seeing as it stands semi-submerged in the tidal waters of the Saleen Creek. The reason the tomb is submerged is due to the sea level rise since it was first built when it would have stood on the shore of the creek. The capstone measures almost two metres and rests on two portal stones 2m high and 1.5m in width. The back stone has subsided and no longer supports the capstone, the entire tomb is covered with seaweed. Unusually the dolmen opens to the east and not to the west, as most portal tombs usually would align with the setting sun. Like many other Irish megalithic sites Rostellan has had later myth attached to it, the legend goes that the eloping couple Diarmuid and Grainne slept under the tomb while they were on the run from Fionn McCumhaill. Fionn was a seer and had a vision of Diarmuid and Grainne lying under a rock covered with seaweed and assumed they had drowned at sea. The tomb has also been referred to as ‘Carraig á Mhaistin’, which could translate as ‘Bully Rock’, the origins of that name are unknown unless it of course refers to its steadfast defiance of the encroaching tidal waters!

The route to Rostellan is pretty tricky and I certainly am not the one to tell you the correct way considering how many brambles and thorns I got pricked with! Also my apologies that when I reached Rostellan it was approaching high tide and I could only make it within a certain distance of the structure, however with it being such a fantastic site I am sure to return to again.

GPS: 51.85734, -8.18292

5 thoughts on “Rostellan Dolmen, Cork, Ireland

  1. That’s fascinating! If there is a very high tide, does it become fully submerged (and if so, how many people have stubbed their toes on it:) )? Thanks for sharing.

  2. What an amazing site! Kind of eerie, sticking up out of the water like that. Very liminal… the builders might quite like it like that, if they could see it now. ☺

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