There was an old man named Johnny McKeown, who lived in a little house by the roadside close to Rice's Fort. He used to say that one night he was sitting by the fire and he heard a noise on the road, so he went and opened the door and looked out. It was a bright moonlight night, and he saw a regiment of soldiers coming down the road towards him. They were very tired-looking and foot-sore, and "drabbed," and they came right into his yard, marching two and two, several hundreds of them. They went into the field behind and into Rice's Fort. Of course it was the "gentry" coming back from some fight between themselves - [T. Curtis].
Note - Rice's Fort is said to contain a cave, or subterranean chamber, with a passage ending in the little marsh between it and Fort Hill. There is said to be a similar passage from the fort at Fort Hill to the marsh. The two forts are connected by a "fairy pass;" and one night, when Curtis and another man were standing beside this path, they heard a sound like many horses galloping past quite close to them.
From 'Traditions and Superstitions collected at Kilcurry, County Louth, Ireland' by Bryan J Jones and commented on by W B Yeats, in Folklore v10, no.1 (March 1899), pp. 119-123. It has a little sketch map, so I know I've got the right fort this time...
I'd imagine the very old cave in the story is the drystone-built souterrain that's in a rocky outcrop on the west side of the hill (it's marked as a cave on some old maps).
On the Hill of Clogherhead there stands a very old cave and it is said that priests lived in it in the Penal Days. The priests in this cave had a terrier dog. One day the solders were around the cave and the priests were saying Mass at the time. The dog started to bark. The soldiers heard it and came in and killed the priests. There are two stones inside this cave and every seven years the stones move a little bit closer together.
From the Schools Collection of the 1930s, currently being transcribed at duchas.ie. Are the stones the soldiers, or the priests? or maybe either? And why are they moving closer together? Too many questions.
Easy to find down a laneway in this townland, it's a large boulder, over a metre high with the large basin cut into the top of the stone.
The water was rancid in the .35 of a metre diameter .17 of a metre deep bowl. I was taken aback by, on arrival, my companion immersing both hands into the bowl and stirring up the stink. I asked him why he did that and he said because I can. Good enough.
Small cairn in this megalith rich townland, about 2 metres high and oval shaped, north-south on its longer axis. Some of the material is being eroded away by animal hooves, but we couldn't make out any structural material. One for completists only.
The sea mist made visibility here on the day we visited near impossible, down to about 20 yards. There's another cairn in an adjacent field but we couldn't get access to it (we didn't try that hard).
This cairn has been very much robbed of its material, in the process of which 3 cists were uncovered and excavated. The cairn has since been left alone.
The northern cist is a classic box, with six flagstones making up the structure. There's a small hole at the top western corner and I stuck my hand in and took a few shots. It was a tad unnerving, given that the cist would make a perfect hidey-hole for various critters. Another cist is visible towards the centre of the mound, but not as accessible as the northern one. We never found the third amongst the vegetation.
This circular hilltop cairn, 21m in diameter and over 4m in height, contains the remains of a megalithic structure 3.5m long, in the SW quadrant. It is open to the SW and narrows from 1m wide to 0.5m at the rear. Three lintels are in position; the rear 0.7m of the structure is corbelled. The remains would seem to be those of a passage-tomb of uncertain design. Near the centre of the cairn are the remains of a drystone-walled circular structure, 3.3m in diameter, with an entrance passage opening to the SE, which may have been built by Lord Clermont. (CLAJ 1941, 77-9; Herity 1974, 232).
You can drive right up to this mountaintop cairn, though I suggest you wait until the cloud clears, unlike us who drove up in maybe 10 metre visibility and a force 10 gale. There is a huge mast up here, hence the road, and the howls as the wind blew through it added to an already spooky atmosphere.
The cairn, said to be a passage grave (see archaeology.ie entry) is about 3 metres high. Much of it is now grass covered, though there are patches where its true nature is still visible. There are quite a few larger stones around, though I couldn't make head nor tail of these, battling as I was with the driving mist of low cloud.
I would say that the views from here are spectacular but we couldn't see to confirm that. As it's a driveable climb, I may re-visit here some day to check.