Archive for 'Stone Forts'

Loher Stone Fort

Loher Stone Fort

Waterville, Co. Kerry
It is likely that a locally important chieftain built this fortified homestead in the Early Christian period. He certainly had a brilliant sense for its strategic location, if not its postcard-perfect view overlooking Ballinskelligs Bay.

The Grianán of Aileach

The Grianán of Aileach

Burt, Co. Donegal
Bus loads of schoolchildren drive up the winding road where the Grianán of Aileach dominates the summit. As the youngsters disperse to explore the fort they may not realize that it was actually assembled in 1837 from a disorganized jumble of stones.

Binder’s Cove Souterrain

Binder’s Cove Souterrain

Finnis, Co. Down
Binder’s Cove souterrain may have been constructed as a place of refuge where its owners could escape when threatened, torches ablaze as they raced into the narrow tunnel. Today’s visitors need no flaming torches; they have the benefit of solar-cell lighting.

Dunbeg Fort (An Dún Beag)

Dunbeg Fort (An Dún Beag)

Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry
In 1910 T.J. Westropp called Dunbeg “the most complex and remarkable of the Irish promontory forts.” But archaeologists have few finds from the site. Why would the prehistoric inhabitants of Dunbeg bury their refuse when it was so easy to toss it over the edge of the cliff?

Mooghaun Hillfort and the Great Clare Find

Mooghaun Hillfort and the Great Clare Find

Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare
The treasure trove of golden ornaments must have been connected to nearby Mooghaun Hillfort. But how did the gold come to be deposited in the remote spot where it was discovered by railroad workers in 1854?

Minard Castle, Ring Fort, and Holy Well

Minard Castle, Ring Fort, and Holy Well

Anascaul, Co. Kerry
The drama of the Anglo-Irish conflict, explosively played out here in 1650, was—more than 300 years later—the backdrop for the 1970 film Ryan’s Daughter, filmed here and elsewhere on the Dingle Peninsula.

Ring of the Rath (Rathgall Hillfort)

Ring of the Rath (Rathgall Hillfort)

Tullow, Co. Wicklow
The nineteenth century blarney depicted by travel writers in Ireland has not gone out of style. In June of 1979 our informants delighted in the competitive spirit, each trying to outdo the other in spinning the more outrageous tale of the Ring of the Rath.

Cahergal and Leacanabuaile Forts, Ballycarbery Castle

Cahergal and Leacanabuaile Forts, Ballycarbery Castle

Kimego West, Co. Kerry
The two forts are known in Irish as caiseal, not far from the Irish word for castle, caisleán. In local legend, the distance from the forts to the ruins of Ballycarbery castle is a short one also, as they are all reputed to be connected by underground passages.

Cairn Thierna

Cairn Thierna

Fermoy, Co. Cork
A tumbled pile of stone now seems a secondary feature to the large illuminated Christian cross on the summit of Corrin Hill. But these stones formed the cairn atop two Bronze Age burial cists. In legend, this cairn was built by the Hag of Beare to hold the remains of the husband she murdered.

Caherconree Promontory Fort

Caherconree Promontory Fort

Camp, Co Kerry
Cú Roí mac Dáire was a legendary sorcerer, an evil magician who resided in the south of Ireland in the brutal tribal era of the prehistoric Iron Age. He has given his name both to the mountain and to the stone fort near its peak.

Dun Aengus <em>(Dún Aonghasa) </em>

Dun Aengus (Dún Aonghasa)

Inishmore, Co. Galway
Dun Aengus is precariously perched on the edge of a vertical cliff, perhaps parts of it already fallen down into the churning waters of the Atlantic nearly 100 meters (300 feet) below.

Staigue Fort

Staigue Fort

Sneem, Co. Kerry
The local peasantry called the building Staig an air, which was translated as “Windy House, or “The Staired Place of Slaughter.” It was said to be either a temple or an observatory, and has been attributed to other ancient cultures—Druids, Phoenicians, and Danes.


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