Monday, December 12, 2011

Labbacallee Wedge Tomb

Labbacallee wedge tomb (Leaba Caillighe in Irish, meaning The Hag's Bed) is a large pre-historic burial monument. Labbacallee is thought to have been built during the early Bronze Age, circa 1500 BC.
The site is the largest Irish examples of a wedge tomb. It consists of a long rectangular chamber, covered by three capstones, the largest of which is 8M in length and weighs up to 2 tons. Three chambers lie to the rear of the monument. The site is surrounded by a wide u-shaped kerb.
Local folklore associates the site with the Celtic Hag-Goddess Cailleach Bheur, and when during the excavation of the site it was found to contain the remains of a woman. Although the body had been positioned within the tomb, her skull was found outside of it.
This and many other of the great sites I have put up on the blog have been discovered and found thanks to Jim Dempseys great web site which can be found here !

Monday, December 5, 2011

Carrigogunnell Castle

This stunning ruin is all that remains of Carrigogunnell Castle, which is situated near the village of Clarina. The castle is an impressive fortress dominating a volcanic rocky crag. It consists of a multi-sided enclosure, fortified by a strong wall probably of 15th-century date, in a poor state of preservation. The castle was blasted apart by cannon during the 1691 siege of Limerick.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Matthewstown Passage Tomb

This impressive tomb is located on the land of (what is now) a pig farm, (so make sure you ask for permission to visit this site). Smaller than you would think from looking at images, the tomb has a very knocked about look to it. The passage measures 3.5 metres long and has three roof-stones finely balanced on the uprights.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Srahwee Wedge Tomb

This great looking tomb would be in a very striking location but for a bungalow which has been built about thirty meters behind the tomb.

The single roof stone (the sites standout feature) covers almost all of the main chamber which is over four meters long.

Despite that the tomb now forms part of the Clew bay trail it was very over grown on the day of my visit and having seen pictures of Srahwee from before this would seem to be the normal.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ardristan Standing Stone

The stone stands at 2.8 meters high it has six vertical grooves radiating down from the top, these grooves are believed to be partly artificial.  This stone is very easy to find as you leave Tullow heading toward Bunclody on the N81  it is situated in a field to your left.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Kenmare Stone Circle

The Kenmare Stone Circle is located in the town of Kenmare itself.
The circle is known locally as the Shruberries.
The site could well be the largest in the south west of Ireland and it is composed of 15  boulders, 13 of which are standing and 2 which are lying down.
At the centre is an impressive boulder-burial stone with a giant capstone some 2 metres long.
The one and only drawback for this great site is it now forms part of a garden feature for which you are expected to pay for the privilege of seeing.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Feartagar Castle

This is a well preserved  four storey tower built by the De Burgos in the 16th century. It is vaulted above the first floor. The last know occupant was a lady who was dispossessed by Cromwell. It is known locally as Jenning's Castle. The most famous of its landlords was Edward Blake.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ballybrack Portal Tomb

This small but cute megalith has existed for over four and a half thousand years. The past few years have not been so kind to this wee fellow who now that the graffiti has been cleaned away, is now under threat from bonfire's which are being lit under the capstone. At this rate i don't think this great little tomb will last another four and  a half years. So if your in Dublin catch it while you can !.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kildare's Standing Stones

Forenaghts Great Standing Stone

Baltracey Standing Stone

Punchestown Standing Stone
Craddockstown West  Standing Stone

                                   Great Connell Standing Stone

                                 Kilgowen Standing Stone

Mullamast Standing Stone

Kildare's seven standing stones (aka the magnificent seven). Are a superb group of stones each one very different, but all well worth the effort of a visit. I have left Killickaweeny off this list as i feel it does not belong with this group. Sorry about the lack of a mapping as the blog will only let me map one, anyone with an quires can pm me and i will get back to you as soon as possible.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rattoo Round Tower

Located near Ballyduff is Rattoo round tower.The tower reaches a height of 28mts, with a base circumference of 15mts. It is claimed to have been founded by the Bishop Lughach, one of the first Christian Evangelists in Kerry.  Built around 1100, it is exceptionally well-preserved, although the roof has been restored. Its doorway has a round arch, and is surrounded by a plain, flat carved moulding capped with an unusual curvilinear design. A sheela-na-gig is carved on the north window, facing into the inside of the tower.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cuchulains Stone

This really impressive stone stands alone on a slight rise in a large field. Standing at over three metres high and close to one and a half metres wide, this up close has a big wow factor. Some idiot has carved his name into the bottom of the stone  but it takes nothing away from this great site.
When i arrived at this site and started to make my way across the field i could not help but notice a lone raven atop of the stone (with about twenty flying around) very spooky.
Which probably had somthing to do with the below being fresh in my mind,
The History

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lissivigeen Stone Circle

This small but superb stone circle can be found in Lissivigeen (a short drive from) Killarney town. These stones are known locally as the seven sisters, while the outlying stones (second image) are known as the pipers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Roscam Round Tower

Roscam Round Tower is located on one of the more picturesque sites of round towers in Ireland.
The site is said to date back to the time of St Patrick and apart from knowing it was attacked by Vikings at some stage not much else is known of the history. 

The tower is just under 11 meters high and stands in the corner of a field overlooking Oranmore bay.
The tower may never have been finished as the holes that were used for the scaffolding are still very much visible
The doorway just over 1.8 meters from ground level is just a plain square-headed one with no markings.
Nearby and closer to the bay is a 15th century parish church with a graveyard that has to be seen to be believed.

Access:-  The quickest and easiest way to the tower is by the old Dublin road. This leaves you with a walk through a couple of fields (don't forget to close gates behind you). The tower is very visible.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Scregg Passage Tomb

All that now stands of this passage tomb at Scregg is this very small but very cute chamber. The tomb is known as " the cloghogle" and its capstone rests upon two side stones and a single back stone. The tombs chamber is about 5ft 4ins long 4ft 4ins wide and 2ft 4ins in height.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ballynoe Stone Circle

The Ballynoe Stone Circle is one of the finest in Ireland.The site appears now as a large circle of closely-spaced stones with some outliers, surrounding an oval mound. The eastern part of the mound has a stone kerb and there is an arc of stones beyond its western end. Its outer ring consists of  a stone up to 2 metres in hight. Excavation uncovered a rectangular stone cist at each end of the mound with cremated bones.. Some experts think the remains may date from before 2000 BC which would place it in the late Neolithic period or early Bronze age.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Antrim Round Tower

The Round Tower and Bullaun Stone are impressive reminders of Antrim’s ancient monastic settlement. The tower is thought to have been built around the 10th century and it is known locally as The Steeple. It is 28 metres tall and is one of the finest of its kind in Ireland.

There is an unusual cross carved stone above the lintel and also eight simple flat headed windows. The monastic site was burned in 1147. The conical cap was reset after the tower was struck by lightening in 1819.

The large stone that can be seen to the left of the tower is known locally as "The Witch's Stone" the folklore is that of a witch who jumped from the summit of the Round Tower to express her dissatisfaction with its construction. She apparently landed on a large stone leaving in it the impression of her knee and elbow. And as a result to this day the rock is known as the "Witch's Stone".

Monday, August 1, 2011

Roscommon Castle

This Norman castle was built by Robert de Ufford, Lord Justice of Ireland, in 1269. But it passed into Irish hands seven years later when it was taken by Hugh O'Conor, King of Connacht.
The O'Kellys gained possession of the castle in 1308 when Donogh O'Kelly slaughtered many of the inhabitants. But the O'Conors took it again in 1341.
Taken by the Earl of Kildare on an expedition to Connacht in 1499, it was granted to Mac William Bourke in 1544, and taken once again in 1569, this time by Sir Henry Sidney.
Sir Nicholas Malby, Governor of Connacht, probably took it over in 1578.
The castle surrendered to the Confederates under Preston in 1645, but they in turn had to surrender it to the Cromwellians under Reynolds in 1652.
The castle is quadrangular in shape with rounded bastions at the corner, and a double-towered entrance gate, as well as a rectangular gate tower in the west wall. After 1578 Sir Nicholas Malby carried out extensive alterations and inserted a number of mullioned windows as well as adding a number of buildings on the north side of the castle.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cahergal Stone Fort

Cahergal Fort is a restored but very impressive stone fort thought to have been built originally around 600AD.  It is located a short distance from the superb Ballycarbery castle, both of which can be found close to Cahersiveen  County Kerry.

The forts internal diameter is approximately 25 metres, the outer walls are 5 metres thick and rise to a height of 4 meters. Stairs are built into the inside face of the outer walls and climbing them makes for a great view of this site and Ballycarbery Castle in the background (second image) .

While the purists whould have you believe that this site is "too clean", for me (and great work by the OPW) this dry stone wall fort is one of the best examples of an early medieval stone fort that you can find in Ireland.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Knockeen Portal Tomb

This is quite a stunning Portal Tomb. The tomb stands to a very impressive height of three and a half metres,  There are two capstones - a feature like other portal tombs in the South of Ireland. The main one is a massive horizontal slab twelve feet long and three feet thick.  It rests on the portal stones and on the smaller capstone which covers the rectangular chamber.

Sad to report that this site is becoming very overgrown and coupled with the fact that the tomb has had a boundary wall built onto it - this all takes away from what should be a truly magical site. This should not put you off visiting this site as close by are Gaulstown and Ballynageeragh which make for a great trio of portal tombs that are a must see.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Kealkil Stone Circle

Kealkil consists of a five stone circle two giant standing stones and a badly overgrown cairn (just to the right of image 3). To be honest (and sad to report) this is yet another site claimed to be under the care of the Office of Public Works. If this is so then it would appear that this along with many other megalith sites are not just considered to be of value to those who call the shots in the OPW.
With a little care this site would be totally stunning.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dove Hill Castle

Dove Hill Castle sometimes know as Dove Hill Norman Tower or De La Poer Castle was built in the 14th century.
The ruin is located on what is believed to have once been a large medieval site, the Castle is very characteristic of the many fortified tower houses that King Henry VI had built by his knights for a grant of ten pounds to help secure his presence in Ireland.
One of the castles keepers Connel O'More a chieftain managed to pack quite a lot into his time at Dove Hill his story includes - the daughter of a wealthy Norman - un returned love - vengeance -
The Black Plague murder and penance in the Holy Land.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Brenanstown Portal Tomb

This Portal Tomb (sometimes called Glendruid or Brenastown Dolmen) is thought to date from 2,500 BC, it is located in a stunning valley. Close by is a stream which gives you a perfect soundtrack to view this superb site. The structure consists of twin portal stones and a door stone supporting a massive capstone. The height of the Tomb is close to 11 ft and the capstone is said to weigh around 45 tons. On the top of the capstone are two deep channels which run to the side, if (as is sometimes claimed) the capstone was used as a druids altar these may have been of use to release the flow of blood from a human sacrifice OR maybe they were just rain drains.
If you do visit this site remember it is at the back of a private residence so please ask first.