The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian




Realtoge ringfort sits to the west of the summit of Realtoge hill. It is most probably a mediaeval habitation site, but on a gorgeous spring day we decided to visit it. It's a protected national monument, with its own Fógra sign and, unlike most of the tens of thousands of other ringforts recorded, has its own name on the OS map.

We pulled in opposite the farmhouse whose garden abuts the eastern edge of the fort and before long were joined by the owner Martin Finegan. The site itself is extremely difficult to photograph, overgrown with gorse and brambles, but the real gem, and a delightful surprise, is the find from the eastern ditch that Martin showed us.

This is a perfectly preserved neolithic stone axe-head, thought to have come from either the Tievebulliagh axe factory in Antrim or from Rathlin Island, further north. Encountering and getting to hold such a piece of prehistory doesn't happen often and meeting with a person such as Martin, someone as aware as he is of the treasure that it is, was a delight that shall remain in my memory for a long time.

Martin related how his father had found it lying in the ditch on the eastern side of the fort and had subsequently had a visit from the archaeologist Rúaidhrí de Valera, developer of the Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland project and the author, with others, of its first four volumes. Martin also related, with arched eyebrow, the folklore of the ringfort being protected by a large, mythical black dog.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
2nd March 2021ce
Edited 4th March 2021ce

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