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A Survey of Monuments of Archaeological and Historical Interest in the Barony of Bunratty Lower, Co. Clare by William Gerrard Ryan

Part 2: Chapter 5: Bunratty Parish: Bunratty East Townland


6” O.S. Sheet number : 52 (Co. Clare)
Reference : 3.7 cm South; 1.5 cm West
Height : c. 105’ O.D.
Shape : circular

Description of site:
Here we have the site of a single walled stonefort which is only in a fair condition. On walking up slope to it the first thing one notices is the large number of young trees growing within the site. On counting I found just over 100. Locally I was informed that a previous landlord of this area undertook this tree planting during the 1950’s. The reason? To ensure that the fort would not be destroyed. He may have ensured this but at the same time the initial planting and the root systems of so many trees must have seriously damaged site stratigraphy.

An examination of the relevant 6” O.S. sheet will show that this stonefort was built on land that slopes from west to east. The fort though built on a somewhat level area does, as the west-east section shows also slope in this general direction.

The single stone wall may be traced over the full site. From the interior it averages between ¾ - 1 metre in height by, as it is now somewhat crumbled due to cattle moving over it, 3 – 4 metres wide. This wall is especially well represented in parts of the southern area of the site where it reaches its maximum height of 1.70 metres and a width of 4 metres.

The only entrance into the site, and therefore the original one, is from the east. Cattle moving through it have been responsible for its present large width of 2 ½ - 3 metres.

There is a suggestion of a possible house-site in the interior western part of the site. Here against the stonewall, for a distance of about 10 metres and a maximum width of 6 metres, is a roughly triangular area of loose stone rising from the V point up to the fort wall, with a maximum height of about 1 metre. Parts of this, especially to the east, have a low stone foundation. This is especially so for a distance of 2 metres and a height of 20 cm where a number of straight-edged blocks occur in a line.

The site itself is of a circular nature with north-south and east-west internal axis centring on 24 metres each.

Bunratty East A: View into site via east entrance
Bunratty East A: View into site via east entrance

There is a site of considerable historical interest in this townland. That is the site of Bunratty Castle in the southern part of the townland, on the banks of the Owenogarney river, near its mouth. Information on the present structure of the castle, its main features etc. can be found in Section 3, Volume 3: “Castles and Tower Houses in the Barony of Bunratty Lower”.