|Taken from the 2 information boards in the vicinity of the site.
Known locally as The City, an amusing name for such a rural site. However "City" is a modern translation of 'Cathair' the Irish word that meant "Stone Fort of Castle" eg Cathair na Steige – Staighe Fort in south west Kerry – as there were no "cities" in Ireland at that time. Ongoing site excavations are attempting to establish the relationship between this ancient site and the cairn-crowned Paps Mountains. They are also investigation, the possibility that The City may have evolved from a sacred Neolithic monument.
The site is known locally as Cathair Craobh Dearg, meaning Fort of the Red Claw, which is thought to refer to one of the triad of war goddesses, who manifested herself as a raven in battle. Despite its pagan origins the name was bestowed upon one of the area's three sister saints (St. Craobh Dearg, St. Laitiaran, St. Gobnait), revered from Early Christain times. The site's holy well which was previously used in pagan spirituality is now a source of Christian Holy Water.
One of the western worlds oldest centres of continued worship and celebration, The City is symbolic of Ireland's transition from paganism to Christianity. May Day scenes at The City have included pagan rituals, trading, the herding of my kin and other traditional breeds of cow (such as the Driomnionn) for healing at the site and prayer recitals whilst doing 'the rounds' which remain an annual occurrence here.
This cashel, caher or stone fort is known locally as 'The City'. In pre-Christain ritual, this site was associated with The Paps which represent Anu, the Mother Goddess. The cairns on the summits of The Paps are likely to date to either the Neolithic or Bronze Age (Connolly & Coyne 2002). The term 'Crobh Dearg' ("red claw") suggests a triad of war goddesses who manifested themselves as ravens or crows.
In Celtic spirituality, The City was a Penitential Station. John O'Donovan (1841) reported that the peasantry performed stations (or rounds) there and drove their cattle to drink from the holy well in the west side of the site. In his book, "In the Shadow of the Paps" (2001), Dan Cronin gives details of the traditional manner of "paying the rounds".
For much of the 20th century Christian piety and festive frolics attracted crowds on May Day. Traders came from as far away as Cork City.
In recent decades people came during May to pray the Rosary as they walk clockwise inside and outside the cashel wall.
Posted by bawn79
28th May 2008ce
Edited 16th July 2008ce