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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 13: Kilmaleery Parish: Urlan Beg Townland

Site A: RINGFORT (Classification type 1 (a))
6” O.S. Sheet number : 51 (Co. Clare)
Reference : 16.6 cm North; 30.9 cm West
Height : c. 80’ O.D.
Shape : circular

Description of site:
As the relevant 6” O.S. sheet shows this site is located where three townland bounds meet. To the north is Carrigoran, to the west Urlan More with Urlan Beg to the east. Most of the site is, however, in Urlan Beg Townland and for this reason I include it under the sites belonging to that townland.

What are the features of this site? Firstly it is a ringfort of the single banked type. This bank is traceable over the full site but it is particularly well represented in the eastern (Urlan Beg) section. Here it averages 1 metre in height though in parts of the north-east area it reaches 1 ½ metres. On average the bank is between 2 – 2 ½ metres wide. While the single bank is in a good condition to the east the same cannot be said for the western area. Here, in the Urlan More Section, it averages 40 cm in height. The bank here has been reduced in height by the cattle, sheep and horses which graze over this area of the site.

Apart from grazing livestock two other factors have also been responsible for damage to this site. Firstly a careful study of the relevant 6” O.S. sheet will show a north-south (approximately) running wall dividing the site in two parts. This stone wall acts as a townland divide. However when it was constructed it damaged part of the site, especially in the bank area. Land, including part of the ringfort, to the west of this wall is in Urlan More townland while land east of it is part of Urlan Beg. Secondly further damage has been caused by the number of mature trees that grow both on the bank and in the interior of the Urlan Beg sector.

The original entrance into this site would appear to have been from the north/east, in the Urlan Beg section. This is 1 ½ metres wide. However because of the poor nature of the bank to the west (Urlan More) and the damage caused by the erection of the nineteenth century stone wall we cannot be absolutely certain that the north-eastern entrance was the original.

The site is of a circular nature with north-south and east-west axis centring on 25 metres each.

Urlan Beg A: Photo taken towards site from the south
Urlan Beg A: Photo taken towards site from the south