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The History and Topography of the County of Clare by James Frost


Part I. Topography of Thomond Chapter 3. Burren, or Corcomroe East

Large number of stone built Cahers in Burren and Corcomroe

In no part of Ireland is to be seen so great a number of ancient stone forts as in Burren. These buildings and similar ones made for defence, are found in most other parts of the country to be formed of earth, but in Burren, owing to the scarcity of earth, they are always constructed of stone. To say that they were erected by the Danes is simply absurd, seeing that in no record or chronicle is there any mention made of the Scandinavians in connexion with Burren. No local tradition nor name of place there refers in any way to them. It is equally incorrect to ascribe the construction of lisses, raths, or cahers to the Firbolgs, who were a mere handful of people, inhabiting circumscribed areas of the country. Neither is it in accordance with history to say that they were raised at any particular period in the annals of the country, because everything we know of the subject goes to prove that they were built from time to time, as occasion required, to serve as places of residence for the better classes of the inhabitants. What now remains of them are merely the outworks put up for defence, the inner buildings, in which the people lived, being made of wood and wicker work, have long since fallen into decay. All this is clearly proved by Professor O’Curry in his Lectures on the Manners and Customs of the Irish People. The history of Thomond itself affords a proof of the fact, because we read that about the year 1200 O’Brien built a circular earthen fort at Clonroad.

 

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