Barnachoge Stone Fort (Caiseal Cluain Meirg)

A short distance from Kilkelly near Ireland West Airport Knock, on a grassy knoll within a bow-shaped ring of hills stands Barnachoge Stone Fort. This field monument is an excellent example of the small-fortified enclosures in use from the late Iron Age (circa 500 A. D.) and may have been inhabited as late as the 1700’s. There are a number of other forts or caiseals in the area many of which also contain souterrains (a cave like feature which was a stone lined chamber used for the storage of food items or as a refuge in times of strife).

Encircling the flat summit are the remains of a wall some 5ft thick and about 50ft in diameter. Within the shelter of these massive walls would have been thatched dwellings of mud and wattle, and pens into which livestock could have been herded when threatened by raiders.

The practice of herding has survived over the centuries and the area has been transformed into a quilt of small pastures. There are fine examples of dry- stoned walls, which form the boundaries of these enclosures. These enclosures had no gate as such, so when a farmer moved his livestock he simply took down the portion of the wall and replaced it when the animals had gone through.

Article by Brian Hoban