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

Part I: Kilnaboy Parish: Footnotes

1. The map form ‘Tullycommon’ is deceptive, ‘Chuman’ appearing both in the local form and the ‘Tulach Chumann’ of the ‘Four Masters.’ Lord Dunraven vaguely locates the two great forts ‘between Clifden and Termon’ (‘Notes,’ vol. i., p. 17). The 6 inch Map only gives ‘Glencrawne cave.’

2. The ‘Proceedings, Soc. Ant., Scotland’, 1888-1889, p. 400, gives several forts in Lorne in similar positions.

3. Book of Lecan: ‘Active Garvan proceeded to work with art (on Grianan Aileach) and to chip. Imcheall placed a scaffold.’ - Ordnance Survey, Templemore.

4. I have since found the foundations of an outer enclosure of massive blocks, often 5 to 7 feet long, overgrown with hazel bushes, on the northern flank of the knoll.

5. We find forts of similar plan at Dunriachy (‘Archæol. Scot.’, iv., p. 199); Dalmakeddar and Erickstane, Dumfries, and Twyholm, Kircudbright (‘Proc. Soc. Ant., Scotland’, 1890-1891, p. 234; 1892-1893, p. 136), in Scotland; Bourdeville and Caudebec though vastly larger (‘Soc. Ant. Normandy’), in France; and at Bény (‘Congrès Internat.’, Buda-Pesth, 1876, pp. 62, 63), in Hungary. See plans, p. 147, figs. 1 to 5 and 26.

6. See illustration of Caherscrebeen, infra. As a clue to the origin of upright joints we find provision made in the ‘Seanchas Mór’, IV., p. 123, for the employment of joint labour on the enclosure round a dwelling. Evidently each section of the wall was entrusted to a different gang.

7. Mr. Seaton Milligan, in our ‘Journal’, 1890-1891, p. 579, describes a small ‘fort,’ 29 feet in diameter, lying 25 feet outside the second cashel of Deerpark.

8. In the Leabhar Breac there is a curious description of the Heavenly City, evidently founded on the recollection of a triple caher. It is surrounded by three ramparts, each 1/3rd larger than the next inner enclosure. Within is the square city, with four gates, and a flowering lawn in front of each. - Todd Lecture Series, R.I.A., vol. iii., No. 830.

9. ‘Leanna’s dairy lands.’ ‘Burren’s hilly, grey expanse of jagged points and slippery steeps, flowing with milk, and yielding luscious grass.’ - (Magrath’s ‘Triumphs of Torlough,’ 1317, and the cattle tributes in the Book of Rights). The Book of Distribution (1655), p. 520, mentions Tullycommon, ‘whose meares cannot be shown.’ Gleacrane (Glencurraun), Leahesse (Lisheen), Slewbegg, Lisheenageeragh, Dullisheen, Cahercomaine, alias Lysidlyane, stony pasture. Creevagh is described as covered with dwarf wood (p. 442).

10. By later examination, I find that it probably extended to a ridge 8 feet in advance of the present remains, i.e. up to 138 feet north and south.

11. Ordnance Survey (six-inch scale), Co. Clare, Sheet No. 10.

12. A similar ‘crannoge caher,’ ‘quayed round with a stone wall,’ in a lake in county Antrim, is described in ‘Ulster Journal of Archæology’, vol. viii., p. 238. There is a Cahersavane in county Kerry, Sheet 89, Ordnance Survey. (See Wilkinson’s ‘Ancient Architecture of Ireland’, p. 58).

13. Bullaun stones also occur with prehistoric remains at the cromlechs of Newgrove, Kiltanon, and the Mound of Magh Adhair, all near Tulla, county Clare.

14. In the ‘Dindseanchus’ (Revue Celtique, xv., p. 449), Curoi is advised to direct the clans of Deda to gather ‘pillar-stones’ to build his caher.

15. ‘Caherwoughtereen or Caherougherlinny’ (einny?) in Book of Distribution,
p. 512.

16. Unless the contrary is stated my measurements are external diameters. Where two are given the first is N. and S., the second E. and W.; where four numbers are given the fort is double.

17. Rev. T. Warren, (Member), first called my attention to Glenquin fort.

18. This also occurs, inter alia, in Grianan Aileach, Staig, Duns Oghil, Conor, and Ballycarbery fort, in this country, and certain forts in Caithness and Sutherland.

19. More likely recesses for ladders.

20. Such a site is common among Scotch forts. (See several striking examples in ‘Proc. Soc. Ant., Scot.’, 1895, pp. 113, 131, 137, 151).

21. The only fort fully described in the ‘Ord. Survey Letters on Clare,’ R.I.A., vol. i.,p. 47, copied in ‘Diocese of Killaloe’, p. 494.

22. Some remains, apparently of a gateway, facing the east, and 3 feet wide, exist in a brake of bramble. Mr. George FitzGerald, some years ago, found a cist of four stones and a top slab to the S.E. in the adjoining field. The remains of two skeletons, laid with the legs to the east, were found, and replaced under the belief that the cist was a Christian burial-place. The top slab is visible, and being only 5 feet 4 inches by 3 feet 3 inches, suggests that the bodies were not in an extended position.

23. Compare ‘Dun Scribin,’ north of Loch Ness, in Scotland.

24. This is also noticeable at Caherbullog, near Slieve Elva, in the Burren.

25. Similarly in Bohemia the peasants tell of ‘giants’ cellars’ under the Wlader fort, ‘filled with treasure and wine,’ the fort being ‘pitted with the diggings of treasure-seekers.’ – ‘Proc. Soc. Ant., Scot.’, 1868-70, p. 161.

26. For a foreign example, see ‘Congrès International’, Buda Pesth, vol. viii., p. 94.

27. This is one of the best examples of a stone fort in the parish of Ruan, but there are many interesting earth forts with souterrains, justifying Macgrath’s epithet (in 1317): ‘Ruan of the grass-topped ‘ooans,’’ ooan being used both for cahers and caves in this barony.

28. The following names are now forgotten:- In 1652, Cahermoyle or Cahermeenrow; Cahershillagh or Cahernahaille (perhaps Parc-na-hilly, in Caherblonick), in Kilna-boy; Cahergar (perhaps near Lough Gar and Cahermacrea); Cahernamart, and Cahervicknea, in Ruan. Other interesting names in Inchiquin and its borders are: - Caherbannagh, in Kilnamona; Cahervickaun, in Dysert; Cahergal, Cahernamona, and Cahercorcaun, in Rath. (The last, called Cragcorcaun in ‘Annals of Four Masters,’ but Cahercorcaun in other documents of the period.) Caherdermotygriffa, in Templemally, on border of Dysert.


Part I