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Cahermacnaghten Ring Fort
 

County

Clare

Coordinates

N 53° 02' 45.54"   W 009° 11' 54.42"

Nearest town

Ballyvaughan

Grid Ref.

M 19641 00152

Map No.

51

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

177

Date of visit

Wednesday 12 June 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The approach to the ring fort is from the southeast (120°).


Cahermacnaghten Fort is a circular stone structure about 30 metres in diameter. It was built around the 9th century, and in the 15th century a gatehouse was added to the entrance in the southeast (120°) side. This gatehouse has mostly collapsed and only part of the east part stands to a partial height. The terrain within the enclosure is higher than the surrounding fields due to the accumulation of debris, and now it reaches the height of the walls.

The original construction was built between 500 and 1170 as a defended farmstead for a wealthy family, and consisted of a circular enclosure with a very thick wall and four huts within. In the 15th century the huts within the enclosure were replaced by thatched houses and a guard tower was built above the passageway.
Of that tower only a a part of gatehouse now survives.

For a number of years it was believed it had been the site of the famous O'Davoran school of law.
The O'Davorans were a clan of scholars known throughout Ireland for their knowledge of the Early Irish Law, and claimed themselves to be Kings of the Burren. Many of the O'Davoran family acted as Brehons, that is they were part of the Early Irish Law system, as the judges.

A later investigation brought the archaeologists to believe that the actual school of law was a nearby building now ruinous.


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