Mac Duagh’s Hermitage

Mac Duagh’s Hermitage, Co Clare

At the end of the sixth century, St Colman Mac Duagh went to live in a cave in an isolated part of the Burren. He stayed there seven years before establishing a small monastery at Kilmacduagh, near Gort. The cave has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times – the ruin of the small oratory presumably dates from that period.

The gable of the oratory
The gable of the oratory, with a leacht in foreground. These rectangular stone-built structures are often found in association with early churches. Their exact purpose is uncertain, but they may have been altars or prayer stations

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The nearby well
The nearby well
St Mac Duagh's cave
St Mac Duagh’s cave

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An Rath

An Rath, Ballyallaban, Co Clare

A large earthen ringfort, a rarity in the Burren. In remarkably good condition, the inner bank rises up to nine metres in height above the ditch, which often fills with water.

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Gleninagh Castle

Gleninagh Castle, Ballyvaughan, Co Clare

The 16th century L-shaped castle was occupied until about 1840. The first-floor doorway has an overhead machicolation, with circular machicolations on the other three corners.

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machicolations
The musket-holes can be seen in the defensive machicolations

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 the tower house
The two waste-chutes can be seen in the north east corner of the tower house

Creevagh Wedge Tomb

Creevagh Wedge Tomb, The Burren

Wedge tomb in remarkably good condition. Single-slab sides and roof, with other uprights, indicating a small forecourt or antechamber.

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Vandaleur Walled Garden

Vandaleur Walled Garden, Kilrush, Co Clare

The Vandaleur family were major landowners in Clare in the 18th and 19th centuries, notorious for tenant evictions both during the Famine and in the 1880s. The house, long since demolished, was located on the site of the present day carpark. The gardens and ancillary buildings have been wonderfully restored (and contain a beech maze and a life-size chess game) and admission is free…

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Rathborney Church

Rathborney Curch, The Burren, Co Clare

The present church, located in an old ringfort dates from c.1500, although the lower parts of the north and east walls are somewhat older.

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bullaun stone
An old bullaun stone lying outside the church. Bullauns are often associated with ancient monasteries and churches. Smooth pebbles (curse stones or cure stones) would be turned in the basin, litanies recited and curses cast or cures effected. Another theory is that bullauns were used to hold sacred offerings of milk or water. More likely, though, is that they were used in the grinding of corn.

Grange Stone Circle

Grange Stone Circle, Co Limerick

The are around Lough Gur in co Limerick is an archaeological treasury – megalithic tombs, crannogs, ringforts, and the largest stone circle in Ireland.

stone circle
The stone circle is aligned with the rising sun on the summer solstice. Inside the circle, the earth was packed down and was littered with “Beaker” pottery.

 

ring of stones
The ring of continuous stones is backed by an earthern bank, It has been suggested that the bank, c. 9m in width, may have provided a stand where the audience could preserve ceremonies taking place inside the circle
wedge tomb
The nearby wedge tomb, dating from about 2500 BC. In 1833, it was reported that an old woman had resided inside the tomb for many years.
wedge tomb
When it was excavated in 1935 the bones of at least 8 adults and 4 children were found. Although there are no kerbstones visible, it is likely that the tomb was covered by a cairn

Kilfenora Cathedral

 Kilfenora Cathedral, Co Clare

St Fachtna founded a monastery here in the sixth century but it was raided on many occasions by the armies of both Connacht and Munster. The present church dates from the 12th century and features a particularly fine east window.

East window.
East window. See the sedilla or wall-tomb on the left with protruding bishops head above
Carved capital, east window
Carved capital, east window

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The Doorty High Cross, dating from 1152
The Doorty High Cross, dating from 1152

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Poulawack Cairn and Ringfort

Poulawack burial cairn was excavated in 1935 and found to contain the remians of 18 people, buried at different times between 3350 BC and 1400 BC. It is about 21 metres in diameter and two and a half metres high, significantly smaller than when it was surveyed by TJ Westropp 100 years ago.

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Ringfort
200 metres east of the cairn is a ruined ringfort. The entrance of a souterrain (underground tunnel) inside the fort is still visible
The souterrain entrance outside the fort
The souterrain entrance outside the fort

Magh Adhair

 Magh Adhair, near Quin, Co Clare

The inaugural mound of the Kings of the Dal gCais, including Brian Boru, later the first High King of Ireland. The mound is in the centre of a large, natural amphitheatre, and is reputed to be the burial place of Adhar, brother of Aengus of Dun Aengus (on the Aran Islands).

Mound
John O’Donovan suggested in 1839 that the mound probably contained an early iron age tomb
 Section of the fosse, up to the causeway
Section of the fosse, up to the causeway
The causeway, on the western side of the mound
The causeway, on the western side of the mound
basin stone
Basin stone to the north of the mound. It has been suggested that as part of the ritual, the new king would wash himself with sacred water from the basin
 Pillar stone on the other side of the Hell river, located directly across from the causeway
Pillar stone on the other side of the Hell river, located directly across from the causeway