Launch of improved viewing area for Lecarrow dolmen stones

An improved viewing area and interpretative boards for the dolmen stones in Lecarrow were launched on Monday night, as part of the events for Heritage Week in the county.             Local woman Monica Beegan welcomed the large crowd which had gathered in perfect weather conditions on Monday evening. She thanked all involved in the project, including the landowners and also thanked Paddy Coffey and John Caulfield, Patsy Beades and Liam Byrne and the Coffey, Kelly and Kilduff families.             Local historian Willie Gacquin outlined the history of dolmen stones, placing them in their historical perspective and describing them as one of Lecarrow’s hidden treasures. He said that the stone monuments come from the neolithic period, from 4000 BC to 2500 BC, when inhabitants began to cultivate the land and domesticate animals. They had a bit more leisure time and constructed one of the earliest examples of architecture in the world. These monuments can be divided into different types, including court tombs, passage tombs and portal tombs. At the time life expectancy was short, about 30 years and people had very hard, strenuous lifestyles.             He noted that the dolmen stones in Lecarrow weren’t marked on the original Ordnance Survey map, while there were two mills, which might have been flax mills, located in the area. Mr. Gacquin said that in 1796 there were 57,811 spinning wheels in Ulster, and 31,000 in the rest of the country, with 3,342 in Roscommon, making it the third highest number of mills in the country, only behind Mayo and Louth. 21 flax growers were recorded in St. John’s, three in Rahara and 13 in Killeenvoy in 1796, with names such as Burke, Brennan, Connor, Cunningham, Dowd, Fallon, Looby, Scally and Ward among them.             Concluding, he praised the great work done by Lecarrow Development Association in making the dolmen stones accessible to the public for viewing.