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

Part I: Kilnaboy Parish

Moher na Cartan; Glenquin; Mullagh

Cahermore or Moher na Cartan
A fine caher on the borders of Cappaghkennedy and Knockans. It measures 138 feet north and south, with walls 10 feet thick and high, formed of large headers, often 2 feet 6 inches square, and 4 feet to 7 feet long. [14] It has a souterrain 3 feet 6 inches x 16 feet, roofed with blocks 6 feet long, level with the ground. The wall conforms to the edge of the projecting crag, jutting above the grassy depression of Mohernacartan, called, like the fort, after the Tuatha De Danann smith, Lon, who traditionally resided there, and whose legend I gave at some length in our Journal, 1895, p. 227. Near the south-west end of the depression, a long cromlech, much injured by fire, stands on the ridge; it was partially destroyed by a crazy lad named MacMahon, employed on the farm about fifteen years ago.

In the next field is a well-built, but nearly demolished, circular caher; and, nearer the waterfall, where the ‘Seven Streams’ of Teeskagh fall into their verdant, shrubby glen, is a fort like Knockaun, called Moher na glasha, after the legendary cow ‘Glas Geivnagh’; it has some cloghauns, which probably, like the enclosure, are of no great age, the only noteworthy feature being a series of slabs set on end all round the interior with their edges to the wall. The entrance faces westward, and commands a fine view of Cahercommane and Glencurraun down the slope, with the tower of Lemeneagh far away. There is a large cairn in the deep gorge near the waterfall.

Cahermore, Glenquin, from South
Cahermore, Glenquin, from South

Glenquin [15] (110 ft. x 112 ft. and 166 ft. x 170 ft., [16] O.S. 10).
Under the cliffs of Glasgeivnagh, on the hill behind Mr. W. Russell’s house, is the double fort of Cahermore, [17] looking over Glenquin valley, to its strangely terraced hills, and across all central Clare. As I saw it, with its fields and crags, blue with gentians and violets, it was one of the most picturesque forts in the county. It is fairly perfect, its wall 10 feet thick at base, and up to 11 feet 6 inches high, having a terrace 4 feet above the ground-level inside, varying from 1 foot 10 inches to 4 feet wide. The outer face is of good large masonry, diminishing up-wards, and having filling as small as road metal, which has probably bulged it into its curious convex outline. [18] The defaced gate faces S.E.; its lintel was 6 feet long. A souterrain lies N.W. and S.E. at 12 feet from the wall at the N.W. segment. The outer ring has fallen, save to the N.E. where it is 4 feet thick and 5 feet high; it is not circular, but 20 feet at N., W. and S. to 29 feet at E. and S.W. out from the inner rampart. A wall ran across this enclosure from the gate, and a house adjoined it to the south. On the grassy knoll S.W. is a small cairn ‘Lishaun’ overlooking the narrow and cliff-girt Lough Avalla, locally called Aphoilla, and, at the foot of the slope, are the foundations of the oratory and friar’s house of Templepatrick and Correen, a stream and bank enclosing the so-called ‘battlefield,’ whose history I fail to discover.

Plan of Cahermore, Glenquin
Plan of Cahermore, Glenquin

Mullagh (129 ft. to 138 ft., O.S. 17), a caher of regular masonry on the hill-side in Dabrien. The walls are most perfect to N.E., being 9 feet thick and high, with a terrace inside, 5 feet high and 2 feet 6 inches wide, and a batter of 1 in 4. Two defaced sets of steps [19] lead up the terrace and wall at the N.; the defaced gate looks S.-E. Inside is a rock-cut tank or souterrain 33 feet from S.W. A large earth fort, ‘Lisvetty,’ lies to the N.

 

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