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Knockalassa, Miltown Malbay, Co clare

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Wedge tombs date from c2000 BC and are so called as they are generally wider and higher at the front (usually the western) end. Both unburnt and cremated human remains have been found, with cremation the more common. Wedge tombs were often covered by cairns but there is no trace of one here on side of Slieve Callan, although the tomb appears to sit on an island of green among the brown of the surrounding bog. Knockalassa has never been excavated.

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The Fianna were a large body of warriors who served as an elite army to the High King of Ireland, Cormac Mac Art.  They were charged with protecting the kingdom from invasion and fought many battles with foreign armies as well as with otherworld foes.Diarmuid Ó Duibhne was a youthful hero of the Fianna, although cursed with a “ball seirce”, or “love-spot”, on his forehead. He was forced to wear a bandanna, for any woman sighting the ball-seirce would immediately fall in love with him.  After eloping with Grania, daughter of the king and fiancée of Fionn MaCumhaill himself, the young lovers were chased around Ireland by a furious Fionn and by Diarmuid’s former comrades of the Fianna.  After a long series of adventures, terms were finally agreed and Diarmuid and Grania lived happily in his native Kerry for many years. Diarmuid was killed while hunting the great boar of Benbulben, when a vengeful Fionn deliberately withheld the cure to the hero’s wounds.  Most counties contain a site associated with the pursuit of Diarmuid and Grania, and Clare is no different – Knockalassa is shown on the old maps as “Diarmuid and Grania’s Bed”.

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