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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 6: Clonloghan Parish: Ballinooskny Townland

6” O.S. Sheet number : 51 (Co. Clare)
Reference : 27.3 cm North; 30.8 cm West
Height : 52’ O.D.
Shape : irregular, see site plan.

Caherforia: Interior of site (1979)
Caherforia: Interior of site (1979)

Description of site:
“… Caherforia lies farther southward in the same field. It is a fairly large stonefort, 162 ft. over all, the wall from 12 ft. to 15 ft. thick and 7 ft. to 8 ft. high; the facing is destroyed. The gateway faced the south, its main lintel remains being 6 ft. 10 ins. by 22 ins. by 8 ins. There are foundations of late houses in the garth and a series of irregular “bauns” round the wall. The foundations of an old-looking hut lie outside to the east…” Westropp, 1908, Page 230.


We are very fortunate in having both the above 1908 field description and site plan of this stonefort. Why? Field examination at various times during 1977 and 1978 noted the following. When Westropp was visiting sites in this area during the early two decades of the present century Ballinooskny townland, particularly its northern area, was quite intensively farmed and devoted mainly to cattle rearing. In place of the open and clear field system of the early decades of the twentieth century we are now faced, in this same area, by a land covered by bushes, hedges and trees. In place of intensive agriculture we have almost the opposite with this land now supporting few livestock. This, of course, has made any attempt at examining and checking sites all the more difficult. Further difficulty was experienced in relation to sites not represented on the O.S. sheet but referred to by Westropp. In place of clear references he frequently says such things as: “…About 270 ft. from the extreme north point of the fort…” (Westropp, 1917, page 13). Due to the depth of this, above described, vegetation cover frequently such sites could not be now located. What of Caherforia itself? Standing in the original entrance to the south/south-east one has quite a different view to that experienced by Westropp in 1908 and 1917. The central area, which had a house-site, is now posted and wired off as a pheasant hatchery for the local gun club. Such a feature along with a heavy vegetation cover, made it almost impossible to study the features of this site. Using Westropp’s 1908 plan I walked part of the site and found that some of the walls to the south and south-west had been partially or fully levelled. The original wall can be examined in areas to the east where it averages some 2 metres in height and between 5 – 6 metres in width, as it is now in a crumbled state. Field examination suggested an internal diameter of 35 plus metres north-south by c. 30 metres east-west.