The Rathcroghan Complex, Co. Roscommon.

This ancient royal complex is truly immense and has well over 200 archaeological sites in a 4 mile radius and in one day I only got to a handful. The reason for my visit to Rathcroghan was for the Megameet. I had met some of the group before but it was great to meet people I had known from the forums and bounce around a few ideas. We had a fantastic day and got to see some of the main site of Rathcroghan. Thanks to Tom FourWinds for all his organisation to get everyone must have been like herding cats. Anyway, back to the sites.

Rathcroghan was the seat of the kings of Connacht and home to the legendary Queen Maeve, the nemesis of CuChulainn. All the sites here are re-Norman in date and were built by the Celts who arrived in Ireland around 300BC. This site is comparable with Tara in Co. Meath in size and stature and over time I will get to as many of these sites as possible.

The site is very important in Irish mythology as said above and highly connected to the festival of Samhain (Halloween) when the spirits of the dead and the Irish gods and goddesses are said to roam the earth.

Click below to read and view pictures of the sites.

Rath Cruachan, Mound.
Mileen Meva, Standing Stone.
Misgaun Meva, Standing Stone.
Rathmore, Mound.
Rathbeg, Ring-Barrow.
Rathnadarve, Ring-Barrow.
Oweynagat, Souterrain.
Relignaree, Rath and Souterrain.
Dathi’s Stone and Mound.

Ballycurragh/Glebe, Hillfort, Co. Offaly.

Location – About 2km E of Leap castle which is on the R421. It is located on a farm.
OS: S 142 989 (map 54)
Longitude: 7° 47' 17.78" W
Latitude: 53° 2' 26.22" N
See map at the bottom of the page.

Description and History – This is a very impressive monument and covers some 14 acres of land. From bank to bank this Iron-Age hillfort is 140m wide. The outer bank is made of earth and stone and is destroyed in the S and parts of the SW portions when a house was built in the 19th century. Damage has been done in recent years but the fort is now a national monument which should ensure that it survives. There is an inner circle which is 50m wide. From above it looks like two concentric circles, almost like an eye. The exact purpose is not known and no excavation has been carried out here. I suspect that the inner ring is a ringfort and therefore a dwelling and the outer ring is part of its defences suggesting that this site was of some importance. The pictures do not do this site justice as it is simply too big to adequately photograph from the ground. Well worth a look.

Difficulty – East to get to and walk around. It is on private land so ask permission. The owner was more than happy to let me wander around...although I did have to help him get a few calves in for the winter. I wasn’t very good at it.

For more hillforts, click here.
For more sites in Co. Offaly, click here.

As seen from the R421 which sits higher than the fort.

As seen from the top of Leap Castle in the summer when the fort is a little overgrown.

Part of the outer bank.

Looking from the outer bank to the inner ring of the fort.

Looking to the inner ring.

There is a lot of small stones scattered around which were used in the construction of the outer and inner banks.

The entrance to the inner section.

A slightly blurry shot of a well preserved portion of the outer bank.

The space between the outer and inner banks.

View The Standing Stone in a larger map

Lough Gur, Lime Kiln, Co. Limerick.

Location – Located near the visitors centre on the shores of Lough Gur. It is signposted.
OS: R 647 413 (map 65)
Longitude: 8° 31' 10.96" W
Latitude: 52° 31' 21.16" N
GPS: R 64728 41359 (Accuracy: 7m)
See map at the bottom of the page.

Description and History – This lime kiln is remarkably intact, although some restoration work seems to have been done on it. Lime kilns were introduced by Elizabethan settlers in the 16th century although examples like this one usually date to the 18th century. It was good to see this example so I could get an idea of what the lime kiln at Srahanboy in Laois looked like. Worth a look if you are at Lough Gur.

Difficulty – Really easy to find and look at.

For more lime kilns, click here.
For more sites around Lough Gur, click here.
For more sites in Co. Limerick, click here.

The interior of the kiln.

View The Standing Stone in a larger map