Three Rock Mountain
The trail emerges from the forest near the summit of Three Rock Mountain where excellent views over Dublin may be enjoyed. On particularly clear days it is possible to see as far north as the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. On rare occasions the Snowdon Massif in Wales can be made out. (The distinctive V-shape of the Llanberis Pass is the easiest way to distinguish the real thing from the banks of sea fog often mistaken for the Welsh mountains.)
The summit of Three Rock is dominated by the many radio and television masts that broadcast programming to the city below and also by the three rocks that give the mountain its name. It was once thought that these were man-made features, great altars used by our primitive ancestors for human sacrifice. Today it is known that these are natural rock formations called tors, formed over thousands of years by the process of weathering.
Although natural, the tors are not untouched by the hand of man. At the top of the central tor is a small bowl-shaped depression, known as a bullaun. Many such examples can be found around Ireland. The precise purpose of these hollows is not known. It is believed they may have been used for grinding. Some have superstitious associations that drinking the water accumulated in the bullaun can cure ailments.
Adjacent to the bullaun is a series of depressions in the rock, which also appear to be man-made. I have not been able to find out any information about them and it may be they are modern, although there is some similarity with the rock art at the wedge tomb at Ballyedmonduff, which is our next destination.
From here, the trail follows the route of the Dublin Mountains Way, marked with yellow "walking man" way markers, as far as the wedge tomb at Ballyedmonduff.