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

Part VI: Ballyganner Group; Templemore Kells: Footnotes

1. Journal’, vol. xxvii, p. 116; vol. xx, p. 287. ‘North Munster Archaeol. Soc.’, vol. i, pp. 14-29.

2. Journal’, vol. xxvii, pp. 119, 120; vol. xxxi, p. 290. ‘Ancient Forts of Ireland,’ fig. 13, ‘North Munster Archaeol. Soc.’, vol. i, p. 23.

3. I am glad to learn that Caheridoula (‘Journal’, vol. xxvii, p. 119; vol. xli, p. 363) is about to be marked. The local officials acted with discretion in such cases, but names and objects were sometimes struck out in Dublin as not appearing on older maps. May I point out that the cromlech to the south-west of Cahercuttine, that at the Caher in Ballyganner South, were put on the map without antiquarian authority, and are unwarranted. The important west group at Parknabinnia was struck out in Dublin and only inserted on strong representation. In all this inconsistency the need for antiquarian referees is very marked.

4. One is generally told that they were ‘approved by O’Donovan and O’Curry,’ a method rather official than scientific, as we have no evidence to show that these scholars made any methodical researches on the ground to check the surveyor’s notes. It recalls popular works of 1750-80 ‘approved by Mr. Smith.’

5. I write this of my own knowledge of several cases, let one suffice - ‘Maryfort,’ near Tulla, where I have known the place from 1868, and a ‘sapper’ by this process got the name attached to a hitherto nameless fort. I had some trouble in getting this bogus name withdrawn.

6. Dublin University Magazine’, vol. xli, p. 505.

7. In fact he does not describe a single fort of importance in north-west Clare in the Ordnance Survey Letters.

8. By some accident a section containing notes on the tumuli and some huts at Ballyganner got ommited. I am anxious to embody all material for this important site, as I may probably rest assured of having passed by nothing of importance from Noughaval and Kyletaan to the road from Kilfenora to Corofin.

9. Journal’, vol. xxvii, p. 117.

10. However, as there seems to have been one in the townland, I incline to accept the local statement.

11. Ibid., p. 119. It was suggested that this is a (very bad) corruption of Cathair na easpuig from some Bishop of Kilfenora, being near that cathedral. It is true that equally bad corruptions are not unknown – Lockwood for Lughid, Belvoir for Ballywire, Ballyvalley for Baile Ui Mhothla, and in the Co. Limerick, Mount Sion for Knockatsidhean! In this case, however, it is impossible to believe the phonetic ‘n espuig to have become naspeekee.

12. I measured the passage as 4 feet in 1895.

13. Book of Aicill, Brehon Laws, vol. iii, p. 253. See also Cormac’s Glossary, ‘Three Ancient Glossaries’ (ed. Whitley Stokes) under ‘Ramhat; Mesca Ulad’ (ed. Hennessy),
p. 43.

14. Journal’, vol. xxxi, p. 287.

15. I retain the name ‘cairn caher,’ for distinction as representing the ‘small ring wall surrounding a sort of cairn,’ given in my first notes (xxvii, p. 119). The structure is described and the ‘cairn’ found to be a small house-ring (xxxi, p. 287). The house ring from the ammount of debris in which it was buried was probably a sort of tower of dry stone. See note on Dunnaglas Tower, Achill, in vol. xliv, p. 312.

16. Dublin Registry of Deeds, vol. ix, p. 285.

17. See ‘Journal’, vol. xxvii, p. 119; vol. xxx, p. 402; vol. xxxi, pp. 288-290. ‘R.S.A.I. Handbook’, v, p. 56. ‘Proc. R. I. Acad.’, vol. iv, ser. iii, p. 542; vol. xxvi (c.), p. 461.

18. Journal’, vol. ix (1866-7), consec., p. 193.

19. Tour in Ireland’ (ed. Rev. George Stokes), p. 94.

20. M. Haverty’s ‘Handbook’, republished 1859.

21. Trans. R. I. Acad.’, xxxi (vii), p. 306.

22. Any information can be obtained by leading questions, as I once exemplified by getting Greek myths for local legends to warn an English antiquary in search of true folk lore. Ask what the peasantry know and what names they use, never ask if a name or story exists.

23. Journal’, vol. xxvii, pp. 121-4. ‘Dublin Univ. Mag.’, vol. xli (1853), p. 505. Ordnance Survey Letters, vol. i, p. 287. Du Noyer’s ‘Sketches’ (Library, R.S.A.I.), vol. vii. Dunraven, Notes on Irish Architecture, vol. i, p. 18. ‘Congrés préhistorique de France’, iii, p. 1017. Champney’s ‘Irish Ecclesiastical Architecture’ (1909), plate v, p. 8. ‘Ancient Forts of Ireland’, plate vii. I have to thank the Council of the Royal Irish Academy for leave to use the last named illustration.

24. Ennis’, vol. xix, pp. 46, 48; pointed arches made round, tracery altered, plan defective. Ballykinvarga, Ibid., vol. xxvii, p. 125. Cahercashlaun, Ibid., vol. xxix, p. 377. The same is true of some redrawn views in Borlase’s ‘Dolmens of Ireland’, vol. i, pp. 87-94. Lough Bola, ‘Journal’, vol. xii, consec., p. 11.

25. I have to thank Mr. J. R. B. Jennings (Member) for this extract.

26. Such joints seem not to occur at regular intervals. In the outer ring of Caher-commane they are at intervals of 118 feet, 171 feet and 69 feet.

27. Journal’, vol. xxvii, p. 125.

28. Plan given, ‘Proc. R. I. Acad.’, vol. xxvi (c.), p. 469.

29. Irish Names of Places’, ser. ii (ed. 1893), p. 303.

30. Journal’, vol. xxvii, p. 125.

31. Creevagh, Caherblonick, Clooneen, Gortlecka, Baur, Cappaghkennedy, Rannagh, Parknabinnia, Ballyganner Hill and other dolmens show this chipping.

32. There was one nearly 7 feet long near it in 1895. It has perhaps been broken and part removed, or buried in the debris.

33. Petrie, ‘Military Architecture of Ireland’; Hely Dutton’s ‘Statistical Survey’, Appendix, p. 12. ‘Orpine, or live long, sedum telephium, covers the walls of an old fort, called Cahiromond, near Kilfeneora.’

34. Journal’, vol. xxxi, p. 291.

35. The question of secondary burials does not seem to have been worked out for Ireland. Here, above all other countries, caution is needed. If the four Maols, the murderers of St. Cellach, were actually buried in the Clochogle dolmen near Ballina, we have an example in the 7th century. A striking late case is in the Annals of Loch Cé (ed. W. M. Hennessy) in 1581: ‘Brien Caech O’Coinnegan** died, the place of sepulture he selected for himself was *** at the mound of Baile an tobair.’

36. Journal’, vol. xxxi, p. 289.

37. See ‘Proc. R. I. Acad.’, vol. xxvi (c.), plate xxiv, ‘slab enclosing No. 33, near western Caher.’

38. Journal’, vol. xli., p 362, and vol. xxxi, p. 289.

39. Ancient Forts of Ireland’, fig. 13, No. 7.

40. Proc. R. I. Acad.’, ser. iii, vol. vi, p. 166. See also ‘North Munster Archaeol. Soc.’, vol. ii, p. 227; vol. iii, p. 38.

41. Journal’, vol. xxxi, p. 16, for a sketch plan. Perhaps dog kennels like the Croite na Catehragh at Caherdorgan.

42. Journal’, vol. xxvi, p. 119.

43. Ibid., vol. xxxv, p. 221.

44. Dolmens of Ireland’, vol. i, p. 69.

45. Kinahan calls them Fosleacs, but evidently included unmistakable dolmens (like Poulaphuca) with the slabs huts.

46. Proc. R. I. Acad.’, vol. xxiv. (c.) p. 113, from O.S. Letters, (MSS. R. I. Acad., 14 B 24), p. 255.

47. The fairy mound, or sidhe, in early Ireland was supposed to open on the feast of Samhain. See ‘Echtra Nerai’ (ed. D’Arbois de Jubainville). ‘Dolmens of Ireland’, p. 853. Nera’s adventures on entering the fairy mound are worth detailed study. MSS., T.C.D., H. 2, 6, col. 658-662, Y.B.L. ‘Proc. R. I. Acad.’, 1879 (P.L.A.), p. 222.

48. Folk Lore’, vol. xxiii, p. 91.

49. Statistical Survey’, Co. Clare, p. 318. The idea of indecency is widespread, being found even in Holland and Belgium. See Borlase, ‘Dolmens of Ireland’, vol. ii, p. 555; vol. iii, p. 845; it probably rose from certain superstitious observances at the monuments.

50. Topographical MSS. R.I.A., vol. i, p. 292.

51. Book of the Pyrenees’, p. 127.

52. Primitive building traditions show in the fishing charm called Cashlan pleiminhin, or ‘Cashlaun flaineen’ locally. It is a stone circle, or rather miniature ring-wall, with its gateway towards the desired wind or direction from which the fish were expected. Despite the jealous secrecy of the people I secured a good photograph of this charm. See ‘Proc. R. I. Acad.’, vol. vi, ser. iii, p. 527, plate xxiii.

53. I only know of this style of building elsewhere in a curious ring-wall at Carrahan in eastern Co. Clare. See ‘Proc. R. I. Acad.’, vol. xxxii, p. 73.

54. Journal’, vol. xxvi, p. 152; vol. xliii, p. 254.

55. Proc. R. I. Acad.’, ser. iii, vol. vi, view and note, plate viii, and p. 139.

56. This utilising of boulders when in a suitable position is characteristic of the economy of labour in the early builders reaching its zenith in certain promontory forts. Embedded boulders in ramparts are found outside of Ireland. Castal an Dui fort, northern Perthshire, embodies a great boulder in its wall (‘Proc. Soc. Antiq., Scotland’, vol. xi, ser. iv, 1912-13, p. 30), and other cases of embedded boulders.

57. On my visit to this plain and interesting ruin in 1886 the curved heap of stones was thickly overgrown with high bushes, so I cannot say whether any part of the ring-wall remained intact. The southern and eastern parts have been long levelled, perhaps for building the Abbey, before 1194. The Abbey gatehouse, however, seems to be on its curve, and the outline may be traced, a later wall following the old line. The ring measures about 320 feet inside, or 350 feet over all; it is about 310 feet north-east and south-west, and encloses about 2½ acres (O.S. 60).

58. See paper by Dr. Macnamara, ‘Journal’, vol. xxx, p. 31.

59. See ‘Journal’, vol. xlii, pp. 111, 204, 211.

 

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