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Fieldnotes by bawn79

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Rathfalla (Henge)

Rathfalla or (Rath Bhaile - rath of the town) is described as a ring-fort in The Archaeological Inventory of County Tipperary. Vol. 1 - North Tipperary'.
I recently visited it as part of research for an article I was writing and discovered that rather than an external ditch which is the norm for ring-forts in Ireland it actually has an internal ditch which is more indicative of ceremonial use or a henge.
The diameter of the monument is 90m and the entrance is in the south-west.

Rathurles (Standing Stones)

To the north of the tri-vallette ring-fort are two large recumbent blocks of stone.
In the older OS letters they are described as the remains of a druids altar however in the latest description they are described as "gateways" and "Listed in the SMR (1992) and RMP (1998) as piers. These gatepiers are located in the field NE of Rathurles ringfort (TN021-012001). They consist of two large recumbent limestone blocks fomerly used as gatepiers to mark the entrance to the ringfort and are likely to be of nineteenth-century date."
On the old 6" OS maps of the 1840s they are described as "remarkable stones".

To me I'm not sure how they could be described as gate-posts to a ring-fort and I've been trying to identify where this newer description came from. There those appear to have been some work done to the stones and at what date this was completed I don't know. However where these large stones are now located is not near any existing or old field entrance. Why someone would move them to this position I don't know. It seems to me more likely that they are in their original position?

The ring-fort itself is known as "the fair of munster or Ormond" (Ormond comes from the irish for north munster) or an old aonach site. Seemingly it is the reason why the town of Nenagh is located where it is. The thinking being that when the Norman settlers arrived they moved it to a new location.

Gleninagh (Stone Row / Alignment)

The 6 stone row is located in the breathtaking Leenane valley in Connemara (near Kylemore Abbey). The scenery here really has to be seen to be believed.
The row is located up a road with a sign marked "private road". I knew it was unlikely I'd be in these parts again so I decided I would drive up and see if there was anyone around to ask permission to view the stone row.
I came to a farm gate near some out-buildings and just as I was about to leave I was lucky enough to meet who I presume where the owners of the land, two nice sheep farmers - probably a father and son who granted me access.
The stone row itself is lovely with smooth rounded stones. It was misty the day I visited and I can only imagine how much more beautiful the setting would be on a clear day.
To top it all off the row is likely to be aligned to the winter solstice sun-set behind the high mountains here, likely to be around 1.30pm in the afternoon.

Lisheentyrone (Cup Marked Stone)

This is a newly discovered panel of cup-marks in Ireland and the first confirmed panel of rock-art in the Tipperary and also for a large area in every direction (approximately 80km2).
It is adjacent to a standing stone pair and a large bowl barrow. On a previous visit to the stone pair in 2005, the rock outcrop was covered with grass. However on a visit in March 2014 the grass covering had been eroded away and it was immediately clear that the stone was cup-marked. It was also noted that there were similar cup-marks on the eastern stone of the nearby stone pair. There are expansive views to the west (where Lough Derg is located) and also to the south-west, south and south-east.
To the north the view is limited by rising ground. The hill of Laghtea to the south-west seems to
dominate the landscape from the cup marked panel and this hill was identified as the location of a hill-fort by Tom Condit in 1995. Unusually there are no views of Lough Derg from the panel.
Funnily enough I remember posting here on TMA about possible cup-marks on the standing stone.

Barnane (Artificial Mound)

The mound at Barnane is very hard to access. It is within a private horse training complex.
I managed to get in on the 21st June 2014 to watch the sun setting from the mound. I had hoped that the sun would set within the Gap of Barnane or "The Devils Bit" that evening. Unfortunately as per the photo it does not appear to set within the gap.

The mound is overgrown with scrub and furze. It is also known as a "Fairy mound". Another megalithic tomb / boulder burial is 70m away to the east. Originally the mound is thought to have been 20m in diameter. A large boulder in the north-west of the mound is thought to indicate that a megalithic tomb is located within it. It is thought to be similar in morphology as the megalithic tombs at Ardcroney.

Derryinver (Stone Row / Alignment)

This stone row is a few kms from the village of Letterfrack in Galway. It is located on a ridge of a boggy hill only approximately 200m from the road. The stone row itself is a fine example, it tapers from south-west to north-east with the first three stones being sharp rectangular stones. The fourth stone is a rounded smooth stone and then the final two are very small smooth stones. The day I visited was very misty and so unfortunately I couldn't take in all the views. However through the mist I could make-out the recumbent figure of the island of inisbofin to the north-west. (seen from a different site in the vicinity http://www.megalithomania.com/show/image/4291/cleggan.htm)
The stone row is thought to be aligned to the winter solstice sunset. However the sunsets here at 1.30pm in the afternoon due to the varying heights of the location of the stone row and the mountains around.
When I was exiting the field, a farmer told me that I shouldn't be on the land as their was a "no-entry" sign. The sign is very hard to see so anyone attempting to access should be aware of this.

Carnfree (Artificial Mound)

Translated as Friaochs carn, it was the inaugeration site of the O'Connor clan in Connaught.

From Wikipedia

It is a small mound about one and a half meters high that sinks slightly at the top and is covered on one side by a dressing of stone. Up until the mid-nineteenth century a proclamation stone stood nearby that featured two sunken footprints, the stone now resides at Clonalis House near Castlerea.

Regarding the inaugeration stone archaeology.ie has this to say

When a portion was broken off the inauguration stone of the O'Conor kings at Carnfree (RO028-69001-) it was moved to the avenue of Cargin House near Tulsk c. 1840 by Daniel Kelly to prevent further damage by quarrying at the original site (Jones 1922-3). It has since been moved to the grounds of Clonalis House in the 1970s, although its authenticity is doubtful (FitzPatrick 2004, 113-5). Roughly rectangular limestone block (dims. of base 0.8m x 0.4m; H 0.45-0.55m) with a subrectangular upper surface (dims. 0.9m x 0.35-0.6m) which has an oval hollow (dims. 0.3 x 0.1m; D 0.7m) divided in two by a ridge at the base to represent a footprint.

Carns (Artificial Mound)

Here is an aerial view of the bowl barrow and the unusual water feature to the west of it.

http://binged.it/12Efrjy

Taken from archaeology.ie

On a slight rise of the broad WNW-ESE ridge of Carnfree. It has been re-identified as Carn Lamha (FitzPatrick 2004, 65). Circular, conical and grass-covered mound (diam. of base 16m.3m N-S; H 3.5m) surrounded by a slight berm (Wth 1-1.2m) and fosse (Wth of top 5.5-9m; D 0.3m) (max. ext. diam. 35m N-S). There are also slight traces of an outer bank S-W, but this may be a field bank. The barrow is contained within a triangular area defined by field banks of the field system (RO028-056----). Ditch-barrows (RO028-071----; RO028-072001-; RO028-073----) are c. 60m to the W, c. 60m th the SSW and c. 90m SE respectively. (Herity 1983, 126-7; Waddell 1988, 15-6)

Carns (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Broken & fallen standing stone.

From Archaeology.ie

At the crest of the N-facing slope of a WNW-ESE ridge, c. 250m N of the broad WNW-ESE ridge of Carnfree. A limestone slab (L 3.7m; Wth 0.35-1m; T c. 0.25-0.45m) is lying prone and broken in two, 40m E of the ring-barrow

Carns (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Taken from Archaeology.ie

At the crest of a N-facing slope of a WNW-ESE ridge, c. 250m N of the broad WNW-ESE ridge of Carnfree, and a little S of the centre of ring-barrow (RO028-068001-). Limestone upright with a rectangular cross-section (dims. 0.5m x 0.4m) which expands over the grass-line and is aligned E-W. It has a pointed top (H 3.2m).


Also known as Cloch Fada na gCarn or the longstone of cairns, it rests within a barrow. On the wiki page for Carnfree http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnfree it compares this barrow and standing stone with some of the features on the hill of tara.

Castlestrange

Although this site is on private property, it has an information board etc and as such I would think that there is no issue with access.
If you happen to be going from Athlone to the Northwest this is a nice place to stop off on the way. It is one of only three la tene style stones in ireland.
It was not found near any other sites and with very little context so you have to wonder where it came from.

Cahercommaun (Stone Fort / Dun)

I have to agree with Ryaner below about this being one of the most impressive sites in the Burren.
It is similar to Dun Aeognus on the Aran Islands in that it uses a cliff face as a natural defence to the north.

Here is a link to an aerial view on Bing Maps to get a better idea of its plan http://binged.it/13C2kNd

I seem to recall that the valley to the north of it acted as an east - west transport link across the Burren so this would have been a controlling point on this route.

Cloghast (Cairn(s))

This site is described as "stone circles" in Topographical Notes on the Barony of Coshlea, Co. Limerick, including Lackelly, the Lake District, Cenn Abrat, Claire, Tara Luachra, &c. by
P. J. Lynch (1920) RSAI

Rev Lynch, who from his paper I believe only viewed photos of the "circles" described them as follows ;

"The discovery of the stone circles on the eastern end of Slievereagh induced some writers to identify them as the remains of the residence or burial place of Olioll Olum." we skip on to "When I prepared the first plan of these circles I described them as probably two concentric circles outside the remains of a dolmen or cairn. I have given the question further consideration and changed my opinion somewhat. I have completed the outer circle (about 45 feet in diameter), when complete, could have rested within the "Benches" while the second "circle" and the stones inside of it, mark the base of a cairn about 26 feet in diameter, enclosing the tomb, of which the inner stones formed part.
There is no "Cromlech" (marked on OS Map) on the mountain. There are several blocks of stone resting on the rocky surface of the mountain; but as Dr. Fogerty writes "if a Cromleac is something built by human hands, there is none""

He then goes on to give a plan of the stone circles. If anyone has access to JSTOR you can find the plan here http://www.jstor.org/stable/25514569?seq=17.
However from looking at the remains up there I would say that the best these circles could be is the kerb of a cairn. Even at that most of the stones up here look to be naturally placed rather.
The notice board in Glenbrohane mentions that the "King's Chair" can be found amonst the rocks of the cairn. I'm not sure which stones they refer to but I've taken a photo of what I thought looked most chair like.
The walk to the top follows a marked path for a lot of it and then swings off on a forestry path up to the antena on top. Views from here are great into the plains of Limerick to the north.

Highpark (Standing Stone / Menhir)

This standing stone is only about 400mm high and is very unimpressive. You would have to wonder about it possibly being a broken scratching post or something like that. The only thing in its support is the two larger stone in the vicinity.

You can just make out the pilon where the other stone is located in the distance.

Highpark (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I spotted the other large standing stone in this townland by accident while driving by but did not spot this one until I saw it on Philip Powells website. Its a tall (approx 1.6m high) "sail shaped" stone.
The power- pilon above it is a real contrast. Surprisingly this stone doesnt appear on the either of the 1840s survey maps.

Ballyfroota (Wedge Tomb)

I always thought I knew about a lot of the limerick having travelled most by-roads looking for stones and also driving around it with work.
However I never spotted this "megalithic structure" as it is described on www.archaeology.ie until i saw it on Philip Powells website.
It looks like the remains of either a cist or some part of a megalithic tomb. Locally its know as the cromlech. However even the local information board located in Glenbrohane gives very little info about it other than US Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith visited it in 1997! Hope they took her to see a few other sites as well.

Iniscaltra (Bullaun Stone)

I was under the impression that this bullaun stone had only been rediscovered in the last few years. However this map http://www.visitclare.net/gfx/HImonastic.jpg relating to Macalister shows it clearly and I under this dates back to 1916-17.
I've grew up on the other side of the lake and some of my early memories are of heading out to picnics on this island.
However it was only last year when I got a boat over, from local tour Mountshannon guide Ger Madden (he gave me a lovely tour pamplet to review which showed this bullaun) that I knew of this particular bullaun.
From the eastern landing site you will need wellies to walk along the shore-line until you come to this bullaun.

Knockshanvo (Wedge Tomb)

Again Broadford is probably your closest town. This tomb is in a long forestry track. I wouldn't recommend it in an ordinary car. Again I visited this as part of the May 2011 megameet.

The tomb itself is in good condition and there appears to be remains of the mound surrounding the tomb also. It is approx 3.5m long by 1.5m wide.

Formoyle More West (Wedge Tomb)

I visited this as part of a mini megalithomeet in May 2011. Megalithic enthusist Marianne had taken it upon herself to clean up this tomb and that is why it was in such great shape in this photo.
It is relatively easy to find, it is about two small fields in from the road climbing over a set of gates. There is a good bit of room to park at the gateway entrance.

The tomb itself is about 4-5 metres long by approx 1.5m high.

Foilnamuck (Standing Stone / Menhir)

From the North Tipp Archaeological Inventory "Description: Situated in a modern coniferous plantation on a SW-facing slope of poorly drained land in an upland region with good views in all directions. An impressive standing stone (H 1.9m; 0.98m x 0.47m) which is rectangular in plan and shape with its long axis orientated NW-SE and tapering towards the top."

This is a very hard standing stone to find. It is situated in a clearing in the middle of a coniferous forestry plantation. It took me two very wet attempts at finding but is well worth it. As you can see in the pictures the top of the stone is tapered. Due to the trees all around we can't see whether this "tapering" is addressing anything in particular but I would suggest that it is likely to be pointing towards the Maherslieve mt which would be viewable from here. The majority of the wedge-tombs in this area are in view of the Mothers Mountain or Maherslieve.
As above the stone itself is almost 2m high.
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Megalithic explorer from Co. Tipperary in Ireland. Travelling Munster in search of adventures.

Contact me at bawn79@yahoo.com

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