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Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Noughaval (d)

Besides the old Parish Church and castles, there are in this Parish the ruins of some cahers which were the defences or fortilegia of the Irish before they built castles in imitation of the Anglo-Normans :-

    1. Lismaher in a Townland of the same name.
    2. Caher Walsh not far from the old Church of Noughaval.
    3. Caher-a-Cuiteen near the last mentioned.
    4. Caher-Kyletaun in the Townland of Kyletaun.
    5. Caher-an-éden in the Townland of Ballyganner north.
    6. Caher-na-speekee in the same.
    7. Caher-a-clarig in the Townland of Sheshymore; and
    8. Caher-vore (more) in the same.

I do not believe that all these cahers were erected in Pagan times, as there is sufficient evidence to shew that the Irish chieftains continued to build round forts, even of earth, down to so late a period as the middle of the thirteenth century. Thus Donogh Cairbreach O’Brien, the sixth in descent from the monarch Brian Boru, erected, according to Magrath in the Caithreim “a princely Palace of a circular form at Clonroad.” And in another place he says that Crohoor na Siúdainé, the son of Donogh Cairbreach, erected at Clonroad a longphort of earth as a residence for himself.

Now it appears very plain to me that the raths and cahers were built by the same people and many of them at a comparatively recent period. The raths in the plains or rockless districts and the cahers in such places as the Burren, Aran, etc., where there is not “clay enough to bury a man”.

Who built Caher-Mac Naughten? Did not the O’Davorans use it down to the period of Crohoor na Siudaine? Did the Firvolgs erect all the cahers in the Burren? Never. The Firvolgs were never more than a handful of men in Ireland and it must have required a dense population and several centuries to erect all the cahers in the west of Ireland.

 

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