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|Archaeology of the Burren: Prehistoric Forts and Dolmens in North Clare by Thomas Johnson Westropp|
Part II: Carran and Kilcorney
Cahermackerilla; Cahergrillaun; Moheramoylan
Cahermackerilla (O.S. 9., No. 8)
This caher is probably that called ‘Cathair mec iguil’ (or ‘iruil’) in the 1380 rental. It and the lands round it were held by the O’Loughlens, O’Briens, and O’Davorens, down to 1642, and by Brian O’Loughlin in 1659. It was occupied till about 1862 by a family named Kilmartin, a member of whom lives just outside its ambit, and states that it has changed very little in his time. From having been so long inhabited the original internal arrangements are defaced.
It is a fine fort, a practically true circle of 140 feet external diameter; its masonry is large and very good, with a most regular straight batter, about 1 in 6, not the usual curve. The wall is 5 to 8 feet high and 15 feet thick, with small filling, the inner face being also battered and of smaller but good masonry. The gate faced E.S.E., its narrow passage running down a sloping rock. The large side stones remain parallel and 8 feet apart all their length, implying from their unusual width the use of wooden lintels.
The remains of modern houses and of cultivated garden plots occupy the garth; in these plots were often found ‘sharp flints that you could strike fire out of,’ and base metal coins ‘about as big as sixpences, with a cross and a head,’ but none were preserved.
A long narrow drain or ‘souterrain’ formed by roofing a rock cleft ran westward under nearly half the garth to the wall and into an outer enclosure. Though the ends are now stopped it is open all the way, for dogs have been sent through it.
The western enclosure is of equally good masonry, its wall is only 5 feet thick, but it is nearly 8 feet high. A low green valley runs east and west along the north of the fort.
Cahergrillaun (O.S. 9., Nos. 4 and 8)
The only internal features are a plinth or very narrow terrace, 12 inches to 18 inches wide (as at Cahercottine), and a flight of five steps to the west leading from the ‘plinth’ to a platform from left to right, and they measure (ascending) 12, 12, 15, 10, and 10 inches high, 23, 16, 13, and 12 inches tread, and 18 inches in depth. There are traces of a similar flight leading from right to left up to the same platform. This feature, though not unknown in the Kerry forts, seems unique in Clare. The gate faced S.S.E., its sides are parallel and of massive ‘stretchers.’ The passage is 8 feet 5 inches wide and 10 feet long, and if roofed, must, like Cahermackirilla, have required beams of wood.
9., No. 4)
In the garth there are some late enclosures and a straight souterrain lying N.N.W. and S.S.E.; it is of the usual type, parallel walls of small stones 4 feet apart, roofed at the ground level with slabs, 5 feet 6 inches long. The term ‘Moher’ is used by the peasantry in the sense of enclosure rather than fort. This was the case even early in the last century, for we find leases of ‘the mohers of Ballymahony in Burren’ granted by the O’Brien’s to the England family.
A cromlech stands on a green hillock 2000 feet westward from the fort. It has fallen towards the north, the sides were only about 3 feet high, including the part set in the ground; the massive top slab is 14 feet 5 inches east and west, and 9 feet 7 inches north and south by 8 or 10 inches thick.