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

Part II: Carran and Kilcorney

Poulcaragharush; Poulacarran

Poulcaragharush (O.S. 9., No. 8)
This townland projects in a bold spur into the valley to the north of Carran Church, and east of the large and conspicuous cairn on Poulawack. Crossing a grass-grown old road, we find the following ancient enclosures:- (1) A finely-built but dilapidated ring wall, not far from the church. (2) A large irregular garth with straight reaches of wall, poorly built and levelled within a foot or two of the ground. (3 and 4) Two small forts which, by a strange effect of their position, look like a huge and lofty caher when seen against the sky. They lie north-east of the curious cup-like hollow of Poulcaragharush. The more northern is in parts nearly levelled, the eastern is on a knoll, and is in fair preservation. It is about 70 feet from the other fort, and nearly the same size, being 69 ft. over all. The gateway faces east and is in good preservation on the outer face, being filled up with stones. The jambs do not incline, the southern has a short corner post, the doorway faces the east, and is exactly 4 feet square; the lintel 6 feet 3 inches by 1 foot 9 inches by 1 foot 1 inch; the wall is 7 feet high to the west, and is 8 feet thick, built of rather good masonry, of most archaic-looking weather-beaten and channelled blocks. (5) A strangely small fort, scarcely 30 feet across, lies far down the slope, near the edge of Cahermackirilla; only portions of the wall are standing.

Gateway, Poulcaragharush Caher
Gateway, Poulcaragharush Caher

Poulacarran (O.S. 9., No. 8)
This is a sort of ‘bay,’ running southward out of the large depression of Eanty. It falls abruptly almost, from the east gable of the plain old Church of Carran, near which we may note a cairn (not cist as in map), round which coffins are carried for burial in the graveyard. The valley is very diversified: it has tracts of cultivated ground and rich grass land, ‘water splashes,’ or shallow lakes, lesser glens overgrown with hazel and hawthorn. In the spring it blossoms with such masses of primroses, anemones, ferns, violets, and deep blue gentians which make it a lovely garden. South of the swampy ‘bleach pool,’ named Toorleerahan (phonetically), is a ridge occupied by the caher of Poulacarran, a neat little oval fort 58 ft. north and south, and 70 ft. east and west. Like nearly all the forts of this district, it contains no remains of dwellings. Its gate faces N.E., and has jambs of single stones 4 feet deep and high. The lintel, as usual, has been thrown down; it measures 5 feet 8 inches by 3 feet by 1 foot 6 inches; the jambs have been pressed in from 3 feet below to 2 feet above; the wall is 4 feet thick, and 5 or 6 feet high, nor do many fallen stones lie round it. A second enclosure surrounds it, irregular in plan and faced with large and fantastic slabs. It is apparently of no great age, and contains a ‘souterrain’, formed by roofing a natural cleft, 10 feet by 4 feet 8 inches with lintels over 7 feet long. The south caher lies opposite the last, across the actual ‘Poulacarran,’ a boggy hollow and pretty little glen, overgrown with hawthorns. It is a little oval fort, of good masonry, and measures about 90 feet by 63 feet wide. It stands on the edge of a cliff and encloses green sward. A second enclosure, meeting the first at the cliff, and of inferior masonry, only some 4 feet high, lies on the crags. A ‘pass’ leads upward to the second fort on Cahermackerilla ridge.

The lower ‘faugher’ is irregularly continued along the east side of the valley; it has a row of small and nearly levelled cahers along its shelf. Two in Poulacarran, one of two concentric rings round a rock dome in Meggagh West, and one in Cahermackerrilla, while another, of only a few courses of masonry, lies on the slope under Poulcaragharush.

Gateway, Poulacarran Caher
Gateway, Poulacarran Caher

 

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