Mooghaun Hill Fort




N 52° 46' 55.98"   W 008° 52' 45.24"

Nearest town


Grid Ref.

R 40685 70496

Map No.


Elevation a.s.l. (m)


Date of visit

Monday 11 June 2018

GPS Accuracy (m)

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The access to the site is from roughly the south-southwest. The small hump in the path marks the presence of the outermost rampart of the hillfort.

Mooghaun is the largest hill fort of all Ireland.

It consists of three concentric limestone ramparts several metres thick.
The outermost one has an elliptical shape, with the longer diameter on the north-south axis (about 450 metres). The middle one is circular with a diameter of about 200 metres, and is heavily damaged because its stones were robbed to build the later cashels. The innermost one is circular too and has a diameter of about 120 metres.

The hill fort was built around 950 BC, and it was the centre of an important and powerful territory in the Late Bronze Age.
After the 500 AD three cashels were built, along with some round houses. Two of those three cashels can still be seen in very good conditions. The third one is outlined on the ground.

The main, or Upper, Cashel was built against the southwest side of the middle rampart. It has a diameter of about 29 metres, its walls are 2.20 metres thick and up to 2 metres high. It has a 75 centimetres wide entrance in the northeast (55°) side. The coordinates for this page have been taken at this cashel.

The Lower Cashel was built against the west side of the outermost rampart. It's about 200 metres northwest from the upper cashel, it has a diameter of about 28 metres, it has a 2.45 metres wide entrance in the northeast (40°) side, its walls are in excess of 2 metres thick. Traces of circular buildings can be seen within the cashel.

The third cashel is about 75 metres east from the lower cashel, but it is just outlined on the ground.

The hill fort was home to about 12 families who farmed the land and had livestock. A few house-sites can be seen in the woods.

In 1854, during the construction of the Limerick and Ennis Railway, a group of workers uncovered a stone box containing several gold items, about 700 metres northeast from the hill fort. This finding is known as the "Mooghaun Hoard" or the "Great Clare Find".
Those gold items date from around 800 BC, and given the amount of objects, this was the largest finding of gold items from the Bronze Age ever found in Europe.

We came here for the first time on May 14th, 2002. On that occasion, though, we didn't understand the importance and the beauty of the place. Furthermore there was a small group of Travellers' caravans in the car park, we couldn't feel at ease during our trip among the ramparts, so we went back to our car soon.

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