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

Part III: Northern Burren: Aghaglinny (or Feenagh) Valley:
Lismacteige; Faunaroosca; Cahermacun to Rathborney

Lismacteige (O.S. 5, No. 2)
At least seven ruined cahers lie on the slopes of the valley; the glen trends southward to Cahermacun, with grassy fields and the clear golden brook of the Rathborney River; to its left side barer crags arise. On the base of these lie two greatly defaced forts, one named Lismactiege, nearly levelled, though on a fine site, on a rocky shoulder at the bend of the valley. It is mentioned in the will of Gillananaeve O’Davoren, of Cahermacnaughten, in 1675, and was probably demolished as building material for a ruined village and modern farm between it and the road.

Faunaroosca Cromlech, Rathborney
Faunaroosca Cromlech, Rathborney

Faunaroosca
To the south of Lismactiege on the righthand side of the glen is a townland called, like that we have examined in Killonaghan, Faunaroosca. If this term (like the other Faunaroosca in Killonaghan) means ‘slope of the quarrel,’ the presence of the cahers in both makes it probable that it is no arbitrary name. The two lower cahers are much levelled and overgrown, and are confused by modern walls; half way between them lay a small cairn. Higher up the slope above the farm-house and on a shoulder of the hill 200 feet above the brook is the caher of Faunaroosca, a small ring fort built of large thin blocks in courses and laid as stretchers; the wall is 8 feet thick and barely 5 feet high, with small filling.

About forty yards above, and to the south of the caher, commanding a view over the abruptly rounded ridge of Croagh to the terraced hills across the valley is a very curious, but damaged, dolmen. It consisted of a small cist tapering eastward, the sides are 5 feet and 6 feet long, and 3 feet and 4 feet apart. The covering slab is from 3 feet 6 inches to 6 feet wide and 6 feet long. There are three end slabs suggestive of smaller chambers to the ends, and, perhaps, an outer fence of slabs as at Iskancullin and Ballyhogan. Three pillars less than 4 feet 6 inches high form with slabs a similar fence to the north about 3 feet from the cist.

Cahermacun to Rathborney
South from the last, on an opposite shoulder of the same hill behind the farm-houses of Cahermacun, is a small irregular caher of the same name; it is greatly gapped, is about 120 feet in external diameter, and 900 feet above the sea. There are two small structures, possibly folds, and the cairn of Cairnbeg in a wall in Poulacappul near the top whence a plateau, which I am told is devoid of antiquities, extends to Lislarheen fort.

Near the road we find a nearly levelled caher opposite Faunaroosca, and a bramble-pestered circular caher nearly levelled to the field and about 80 feet in diameter near a bend of the stream in Croagh.

The earthen forts of Duntorpa and Rathborney and the caher of Cloomartin lie across the mouth of the valley. The first is planted with bushes, and the second forms part of the burial ground of Rathborney Church to which it gives its name, ‘the Rath of Burren’; it is much defaced by interments, but is very well marked. Doontorpa possibly derives its name from a certain Torptha or Torpa, chief of the Corcomroes in about A.D. 750, or of his contemporary, a prince of Thomond.[37] The caher of Cloomartin is reduced to a ring of low and broken mounds.

 

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