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

Part II: Kilcorney and the Eastern Valleys: Glensleade:
Poulgorm Cliff Fort; Cahernamweela; Caheranardurrish

Poulgorm Cliff Fort
On the opposite cliff overlooking, and about 300 feet to the S.W. of Cahercashlaun, is a rude ring-wall 60 feet across; it has a side enclosure, and has been much rebuilt, and used as a fold.

Cahernamweela
This fort, and the large enclosure near it, seem also to be called Cahernanebwee. It is a ring of good masonry, 50 feet internally, 5 feet thick, and at most 6 feet high. The nearly levelled gateway faced S.S.E., and is 3 feet 4 inches wide; the sides are parallel, made of large blocks running the whole depth of the wall. The mossy garth only contains a hut-foundation near the gateway. The site is overlooked by a ridge scarcely 50 feet away, and slopes abruptly to the east and south. There is a side enclosure to the S.W. at a lower level, but joining the caher wall.

Enclosure
About 300 feet to the N.W., on the summit of the ridge, is an old enclosure. It is a most disappointing object, seeming to be high and large and imposing, especially as seen from Caheranardurrish. It is actually a rough wall, 3 feet thick and 7 feet high, enclosing an irregular space 110 feet across. There are no foundations in the garth, and it was probably a mediæval bawn.

Going westward by a difficult way across waterworn and loose crags (full of fossil corals) and a level-floored depression, we ascend the opposite ridge, and find two other cahers.

Caheranardurrish (O.S. 5, No. 15)
The eastern fort of the name (the other lies on the crest of the hill-road behind Rathborney Church) stands on a knoll above the deep basin-like hollow of Glensleade, some distance to the N.W. of the castle. Though surrounded by crags, there is abundance of coarse rich grass both in and around its wall. The name is taken from the gateway which faces E.S.E., and is very perfect; it has sloping jambs, and is from 4 feet 10 inches to 4 feet 7 inches wide, and only 5 feet 3 inches high. As there is very little fallen rubbish, it suggests either that ‘Fort of the high door’ is an archaic sarcasm, or that high doors were rare in ancient Burren. The gateway has three lintels; the middle has slipped, and the outer measures 8 feet 2 inches by 1 foot 6 inches by 9 inches; it has two long slabs above it to spread the weight of the upper wall. The fort is oval, from 110 feet to 116 feet internally; the wall 7 or 8 feet thick, and 5 feet to 8 feet high, of good long-stoned masonry.

In the centre of the garth used to be a heap of stones suggestive of a fallen clochan. This is now cleared away, and only a small cist remains, 3 feet wide, and at least 9 feet long, with a partition of slabs in the middle. This may have been one of those strange little slab enclosures to be seen in the floors of several Irish and Welsh forts and Scotch brochs. The filling of the wall has been much dug up by seekers after imaginary treasures, or more practicable rabbits. Unfortunately such gold dreamers abound; all agree that nothing but a few coins of the ‘cross silver’ have ever been found (and that very rarely); but these discouraging ‘modern instances’ never save our venerable buildings from these foolish and destructive attempts to discover fairy gold. Even in the last three years the right jamb of the gateway of this caher has been tampered with, and the pier is in considerable jeopardy.

On the south slope of the knoll is a very small circular fort 47 feet internally, with walls 5 feet thick, and barely 3 feet or 4 feet high; the gateway faced the south. A well-built bawn, lined on the inside with upturned slabs, runs down the slope near this little ring-wall.

 

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