|Clare County Library||
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | OS Maps | Search this Website | Copyright Notice
|Archaeology of the Burren: Prehistoric Forts and Dolmens in North Clare by Thomas Johnson Westropp|
Part V: Corofin District: Ruan Parish; Dromore and Ruan; Lisheenvicknaheeha; Cahermacrea; Lisavoon; Lissyline; Portlecka
Twice in the Cathreim Thoirdhealbhaigh we read of ‘Ruan of the grass-grown hollow uamhadha’; the latter word, locally pronounced Ooan, is used indiscriminately for a cathair or a souterrain. The first notice creates a difficulty, and may be a headless slip of memory; but the last, in May, 1318, undoubtedly refers to this district. Here Sir Richard de Clare camped for the night before the fatal Battle of the Ford before Dysert O’Dea. The epithet is most appropriate, for Ruan abounds in ring-forts; to attempt a complete survey might add rather to the length than to the value of my survey, so I will only select a couple of important groups, and a few other examples. The Liss names are numerous: Lisnabulloge, Lisbeg, Lisduff, Lisheen-vicknaheeha; the fort to the north of the last is locally Lisheenahuckera; Lisnavooaun, Lisronalta, Lismuinga, Lissyline, and Liscarhuanaglasha (Carhuanalashee alias Cahernamart in 1666). To complete the Liss names known to me in the adjoining parishes I give Lisduff, Lisvetty, and Lisheenaboughil in Kilnaboy, and Lissyogan and Liscullaan in Rath. No such names occur in the parishes of Kilkeedy, Kilnamona, and Dysert so far as I am aware.
Dromore and Ruan (O.S. 25)
Lisheenvicknaheeha, ‘the little fort of the son of the night,’ is the most southern of these. This weird name may after all be simply derived from some former occupant, for the name, Mac na haidche, appears in our Annals from 1104 to 1281. I have not found it in later records, a fact which favours some age for the liss. The form (if correct) seems akin to the name Cahervicknea in this district about 1650. It is a very low little earthen fort studded with hawthorn bushes.
Cahermacrea (O.S. 17)
The ring-wall, now called Cahermacrea, is I believe entitled to the name. It was an important, massive cathair of excellent masonry, carefully fitted, and of large blocks. The wall is 7 feet high for a long reach, the batter is usually from 1 in 7 to 1 in 12; its facing is inferior to the east, but gets better at the north-east, at which point are several upright joints, as at Cahercloggaun and ‘Caherbeg’ on Knockauns mountain. Some of the facing blocks are 19 inches by 11 inches by 16 inches up to 36 inches by 12 inches by 16 inches. The wall is about 9 feet thick with large filling, but the inner facing was of small blocks and, as so usually, has collapsed. The garth is 110 feet across; the fort being about 130 feet over all, and, being thickly planted, all traces of house-sites are gone. Parts of the outer wall have been rebuilt to protect the trees, and all trace of the gateway seems removed.
Lisavoon or Cahermore
Lissyline, north from Ruan, is a very low earthwork, somewhat oval, 250 feet north-west and south-east by 230 feet, with a shallow fosse, the mounds regularly set with hawthorns. To the south-west is a defaced normal liss called Lisheenamuddagh, a low fort with a bank and fosse; its diameter is about 110 feet over the bank.
Portlecka (O.S. 25)
This is, I think, the only case I have found in this barony, though there are set stones perhaps for beam sockets in other souterrains. The passage turns at right angles to the south-west, being 5 feet 5 inches high at the turn. The next wing is 16 feet 6 inches long: the side walls are as usual of small masonry, with no cornice ledge such as we find at Mortyclough and Ballyganner. The souterrain is roofed with large slabs of limestone. There are two large slabs and four lintels over the outer passage, and seven over the inner, at two places are carefully arranged little openings, evidently shafts for air and light.
Three entirely defaced ring-walls lie between this fort and Dromore Lake in the townland of Portlecka, and another lies in Nooan. This townland is interesting both as recalling the ‘grass-grown uamhadha’ of history by its name, and as having been once rich in early remains, now miserably defaced. Of three other forts, one has the stone facing of good masonry intact to the south-west, the rest nearly all removed by road-makers. The souterrain lies in the open field between the two eastern forts, and is nearly stopped up; its entrance has a large lintel 8 feet 10 inches long, 3 feet wide, and 1 foot 7 inches thick. There is no trace of any enclosure round it.