Tibradden Mountain stands some 470m high and is formed from granite with large glacial boulders strewn over its slopes. The name Tibradden derives from Tigh Bródáin, meaning Brodáin’s House.

A mound of stone that forms a prehistoric cairn marks the summit of the mountain, and the Dublin Mountains Way walking trail passes by this ancient monument. When the cairn was excavated in 1849, antiquarians found a central cist (a small stone-lined grave) that contained a pottery food vessel of Bronze Age type and cremated human remains within a circular chamber with a diameter of approximately 3m. The cairn may date to the Bronze Age, though the cairn may have been earlier, and originally constructed in the Neolithic period before later being reused during the Bronze Age. A partially lintelled passage extends from the centre of the chamber to the north east.

Photo Photo Photo Credit: Abarta Heritage

The tomb takes its present shape from reconstruction work in the 1950s that followed the nineteenth century excavations. A stone bearing the spiral motif can be seen at the cairn. However this is thought to have been inscribed during the nineteenth century or later, although the decoration is clearly inspired by ancient megalithic art.

To the east the cairn of Fairy Castle can be seen on the summit of Two Rock Mountain, and to the north west you can see the Hell Fire Club, where two tombs once stood behind the building. This shows the importance of the inter-visibility of these ancient tombs.

Locally the cairn is known as Niall Dhú’s grave. Niall Dhú, or Niall Glúndub, became High King of Ireland in 915. He was slain in 915, after the Battle of Cill-Mosamhog where his army was defeated by the Norsemen of Dublin. Cill-Mosamhog has often been mistaken for the Mountain of Kilmashogue just to the north of Tibradden, but it is more likely to refer to the area of Kilmainham in Dublin. Tibradden was also known as Killmainham Beg in medieval documents and was once part of the lands of the Priory of Kilmainham. According to the Schools Folklore Collection from the 1930s, in the past many local people used to follow a tradition of going up the mountain to leave flowers on his grave and to pray for his soul.

Photo Photo Photo Credit: Abarta Heritage

The Glendoo Valley lies between Tibradden and Glendoo valley to the south. Along the road through this valley is O’ Connell’s Rock, where the renowned political figure Daniel O’Connell is said to have addressed a crowd of local people in 1823. He was on his way to visit his daughter who was married and living in the area when he came across a crowd celebrating a festival and made an impromptu address.


The forestry that covers the lower sections of the mountains consists of a plantation of Sitka spruce, with some Scots pine, Japanese larch, European larch, oak and beech. The upper sections of the mountain are largely covered with blanket bog, where it is possible to spot red grouse in amongst the heather.

Link to Tibradden Wood recreation site features and maps.

Text & Images: Abarta Heritage




Archaeology Sites in the Dublin Mountains

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