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

Part II: Burren Barony: Ancient Burren: Footnotes

1. The terms ‘fort’ and ‘cromlech’ are used for convenience, not as implying the exclusively military use of the one class of remains, or the superiority of the other terms, to ‘dolmen,’ &c. In the same way ‘caher,’ and other anglicised forms, are used. The spelling of the names is that of the Ordnance Survey maps, except when (as at ‘Tullycommon’) the ancient name and modern pronunciation are both violated by following Petty’s ‘Name Lists.’

2. The 1891 census gives, in the portion of Carran here explored, only 13 inhabited houses; in Kilcorney 20; portion of Rathborney 5. Total 38; against this we have noted over 100 forts. After the war (1641-52), the population of Burren is given as 823.

3. E.g. Cahermacnaughten and Cahergrillane.

4. The legendary nature of the poem does not alter the value of this fact, which possibly was based on the poet’s own experience.

5. ‘Revue Celtique’, xvi. (1895), p. 135.

6. ‘Revue Celtique’ (1894), p. 321, and (1888) p. 451. ‘Voyage of Bran,’ vol. i., p. 14. ‘Thrice Fifty Islands.’ The islands of Brazil and St. Brendan figure on most early maps.

7. Columbus had at least one Irish sailor in his crew, a Galway man.

8. As at Cragballyconoal, to command the one striking view of [Turlough Cairn].

9. ‘Silva Gadelica’, vol. ii., p. 192.

10. See our ‘Journal’, 1896, p. 148. We find records of forts built and repaired in later times, e.g. Grianan Aileach, 674, 973, and 1101. Dun Onlaig ‘construitur,’ 714.
Forts built or repaired by Brian Boru, c. 1000. Grianan Lachtna, c. 840. Caher built by Conor na Cathrach O’Brien, c. 1120. Caisteal mac Tuathal, in Scotland, built by Tuathal, a chief, who died 865. Stone fort of Kincora, built c. 1000, demolished and rebuilt in 1062 and 1098. While Cahermore-Ballyallaban, Caherahoagh, and Cahermacnaughten, in county Clare, Cahercugeola, near Kilmacduach, &c. have late gateways; and Ballyganner and Cahercloggaun have mediæval castles.

11. To give a few examples earlier than 1400:- Cathyrnachyne (Caherkine). 1287. Inquisition. Cahercrallaha (near Crughwill). 1317. Wars of Turlough. Cathair in daire (Caherderry), Cathair medain (Cahermaan), Cathair polla (Lismoran), Cathair mec ui ruil (Cahermackirilla), Cathair an Lapain (Caherlappane, alias Cahermackerrila in Killeany Parish), Cathair seircin (Cahersherkin), Cathair mec oilille sella (unknown), Cathair da con (Cahercon), ‘Caitir’ Urthaile (Caherhurley), Trans. R.I.A., vol. XV., pp. 37, 38, all in rentals of 1380. Cahercottine, 1397, Tulla Inquisition. In Clare we nowhere find the tendency, so apparent in county Kerry, to call the forts after modern owners; even such names as Cahermurphy and Cahershaughnessy and these are at least pre-Elizabethan.

 

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