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

Part II: Carran and Kilcorney: Footnotes

1. ‘Journal’, 1893, pp. 281, 432; 1896, pp. 142, 363; and 1897, p. 116.

2. These are probably the Rebechan cromlechs described in the Ordnance Survey Letters, MSS. R.I.A., 14. B. 23, p. 66. Despite discrepancies in measurements, the description seems to fit, and one is certainly the sixth Parknabinnia cromlech. The older name of Deerpark was ‘Poulquillica.’

3. ‘Jour. R.S.A.I.’, 1896, pp. 364, 365. ‘Dolmens’, pp. 70, 72.

4. The report on Noughaval and ‘Carrune,’ in Mason’s ‘Parochial Survey,’ vol. iii., pp. 282-287 (1819), is disappointing. It states that there are three ‘of what are called Danish forts’ in Noughaval, and five in Carrune. ‘There are no traditions with respect to any of these.’ Under the head of ‘Natural curiosities,’ &c., a list of the clergy is given. The translations of the townland names are curious, e.g. Fannygallavan, Ring of promise; Clouncouse, perhaps cause of deceit; Glencullenkilla (Glencolumbcill), Glen of Hollywood; Cahergrillane, Dutch chair; and Mohermilan (Mohermoylan), Louse Park. The Ordnance Survey Letters dismiss these interesting ruins as ‘the broken cahers and ruined church in Poulacarran.’

5. They probably formed a mearing: see Cormac’s Glossary, under ‘Gall,’ ‘Boundaries of Pillar-Stones,’ and the Book of Leinster, f. 78: - ‘There went westward from the lake a great mearing. . . and he (Cuchullin) fared to a pillar-stone, and put his waist-belt round it, that he might die standing.’

6. ‘Trans. R.I.A.’, vol. xv., p. 38. Similar groups of forts, cists, cairns, and mounds also occur at Tullycommane and Ballyganner, in this district; also in Bosnia, and in Scotland. Sir J. Simpson (‘Archaic Sculpturings’, 1867, p. 47) sums up: ‘The strong-holds were on elevated spots, the huts were lower down in shelter; along with these, circles, monoliths, barrows, and cairns occur. The cairns of the ancient dead interspersed among the hut-dwellings of the ancient living.’

7. Farbrega rocks are common in Clare, especially on the hills near Broadford. A line of pillars at Carrahan, north of Quin, is locally said to represent the petrified robbers, who were thus punished for robbing the blessed bull of St. Mochulla as he carried provisions to that saint, who was building Tulla Church. The notion of these ‘false men’ is old in Irish literature: see ‘Battle of Moylena,’ p. 31, for men petrified by fairies. In the Book of Feenagh, St. Caillin turns into pillars the Druids who ‘did corrguinecht’ against him (p. 123). See also Dr. Joyce’s ‘Irish Names of Places’, 2nd Series, pp. 411, 412; and ‘Revue Celtique’, vol. i., p. 196: ‘Fionn’s Enchantment.’

8. The typical souterrain in N.W. Clare is a passage 3 or 4 feet wide, and 4 or 5 feet high, straight, curved, or S-shaped in plan, with dry stone walls, or utilizing a rock cleft; the roof of stone slabs, level with the field. Domed chambers are practically absent, though a not uncommon feature in the S.W. district. We may note that these structures hold a place in Irish literature. Two instances will suffice. 1. Cormac’s Glossary (ed. Whitley Stokes), p. xxxix: ‘Caer flies to the flagstone behind the fort, under which he is found by Nede’s dogs.’ 2. The demon-chariot of Chuchullain (our ‘Journal’, vol. i., 4th Series, p. 385): ‘A pit in the dun belonging to the king,’ which last was ‘a seven-walled caher.’

9. The description of the chapel, though elaborate, is most misleading, even to the statement of the existence of a stone roof; the account is probably given from hearsay.

10. ‘Revue Celtique’, vol. xiii., 1892, p. 317.

11. Inquisitions of Donat, Earl of Thomond, 1624, and Morogh O’Cashie, 1623: Mason’s ‘Parochial Survey,’ vol. iii., p. 287.

12. This family has evidently been long settled in the Burren. We find a Ballykil-martin in Killeany, in Petty’s Survey, 1652.

13. Vol. iii., p. 287.

14. ‘Early Fortifications in Scotland’, pp. 146 and 147.

15. Dublin Registry of Deeds, B. 51, p. 378, and B. 94, p. 445 (1725-1726).


Part 2