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Archaeology of the Burren: Prehistoric Forts and Dolmens in North Clare by Thomas Johnson Westropp

Part I: Kilnaboy Parish

Caherahoagh; Roughan; Caherscrebeen; Other forts in Inchiquin

Caherahoagh (95 ft. x 103 ft., O.S. 17), half a mile east from the last, in Caherbullaun, 3 miles N. from Corofin. - It is nearly oval in plan, slightly flattened to the E. and W. Its walls are roughly built in two sections, with small filling; the outer, 5 feet x 9 feet high; the inner, a terrace, 3 feet 6 in. x 5 feet high, with an interesting ‘stone ladder’ in a recess 3 feet wide to the N.; five steps show above the rubbish, the top one having fallen, and four steps lead thence up the wall, to the left. The gate faces S.E., and has been rebuilt about the fifteenth century, with dressed stone and mortar, retaining the old batter 1 in 12 (the outer face reset for 12 feet west and 5 feet east). The passage splays inward, from 5 feet 2 inches to 6 feet 5 inches, being 4 feet 4 inches wide, at two projecting jambs, 19 inches thick. Three inches behind these are bolt holes, showing how thin a door was used. A flight of four steps leads from the terrace up the south pier. Caherbullaun (82 feet), lies 58 feet to W., and Lisduff, a similar fort of earth and stones, in equal decay, lies beyond the road in a labyrinthine grove.

Stone Ladder, Caherhoagh
Stone Ladder, Caherhoagh

Roughan (130 ft. x 127 ft., O.S. 16). - On a steep slope [20] near Kilnaboy cross and Lemeneagh gate, stands Cahermore. [21] Its wall is of finely fitted masonry, many of the blocks 5 feet x 3 feet; it is 10 feet thick, 7 feet high to S., and 2 or 3 feet high to N. and E. The outer face, though perfect, shows no gate [22] ; the inner face, with much of the filling, has been removed; an inaccessible souterrain lies 17 feet from the wall to S.E. In the next field, westward, lies the long cromlech of Ballycasheen.

Masonry – Cahermore, Roughan
Masonry – Cahermore, Roughan

Caherscrebeen [23] (129 x 135 feet, O.S. 16) is on the ridge behind Lemeneagh Castle, a shallow valley leads to its western face. The present wall seems built outside an older one, to enlarge the area, [24] and is 12 feet to 17 feet thick, and 7 feet high, with patches of good masonry, but much is built of small field stones, and much has fallen; no gate is visible; the interior is level with the top of the wall, and crossed by four foundations (N. and S.); a small hut stood in the centre, and an inaccessible souterrain 9 feet from the west. A shepherd told Dr. G. Macnamara, ‘it is one of the richest forts in Ireland: it has a room full of gold, another of deer’s tallow, and a third of ‘beor lochlanagh,’ or ‘Dane’s beer.’ [25] Pits dug by treasure-seekers appear everywhere.

Masonry - Caherscrebeen, near Lemeneagh Castle
Masonry - Caherscrebeen, near Lemeneagh Castle

Other forts in Inchiquin
Cappanakilla, a long ridge in Dysert, has two double [26] forts, Caheragaleagh (the western, 100 feet x 60 feet, and 200 feet x 150 feet), and Cahergurraun (the eastern, 130 feet x 150 feet and 300 feet x 300 feet); both are overthrown and of rather small stones. The plateau has a fine outlook, extending from the spires of Ennis to Inchiquin Lake, and ends in steep crags covered with hazels. Cahermacgorman, levelled. Caherclancy, a high fort cut by the road. Cahermacrea (300 feet x 250 feet), quite overthrown, in a dense wood. To the S.W., is a smaller fort (130 feet), a ring of filling 6 feet high x 9 feet thick, the outer face rebuilt to protect a plantation. Ballyharaghan, overgrown and featureless. [27] Cahereen, Caherlough, and Cahervillare, defaced. Caheraoisin, (220 feet x 250 feet), of earth and stones, had gates to E and W., an old road leads to latter. Cahermacatier, of coarse blocks, much broken. Caherblonick, Cahermacon and Caherfadda, defaced. Cahermore, in Killeen, S.E. from Coad, perfect but featureless, the walls 6 feet high. Tirvicbrain, two enclosures of doubtful age on an abrupt crag. Roughan, a fort at opposite end to Cahermore (supra) feature-less and overgrown. [28]

Plan of Forts on Cappanakilla
Plan of Forts on Cappanakilla

 

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