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 Hernons Ring Fort at QuinaltaghHernons Ring Fort at Quinaltagh


Ring forts 

Ringforts, liosanna and raths are names of settlements and homesteads constructed between c. 400AD and c.1200AD. They were the defended farmsteads of the native Irish Celts, a defence from hostile neighbouring clans and the wild animals that roamed the forests. The settlements, usually constructed on high ground were centres of a mixed farming economy and were largely self sufficient in the production of food, tools, textiles and household goods. Surrounding the settlement was an earthen embankment and ditch(Fosse), constructed manually with primitive tools. The more important the fort the greater number of embankments. On top of the embankment stood a stockade of wooden stakes.

The settlement was usually dominated by  a large round wooden house constructed of wattle and plastered with daub. The roof was constructed of branches, heather and rushes. Several outhouses  and animal pens stood against the outer wall. Beneath the settlement were excavated tunnels and souterrains which were used as storage, as a place of refuge and as a means of escape. 

Remains of a number of these settlements exist in Garrafrauns Parish. Most have earthen banks, some are faced with stone while a couple were constructed totally of stone (Cahir). Some of the forts are sited on isolated hills or eskers.

Hernon's Lios. Situated north-east of Garrafrauns, on an elevated site in the village of Quinaltagh. This is a circular earthen fort and commands an excellent view to the south, east and west. The fort is about 100 feet in diameter surrounded by double stone-faced banks and an intervening fosse. The entrance to a souterrain  can be seen in the centre of the site. Up to the early part of the 20th century the site was used as a children's burial ground and stone grave markings oriented in an east - west direction can still be observed.  In recent years the site has become partly overgrown but the banks and ramparts are still very evident. 

Hernon's Cahir. This is a circular cathair or stone fort just west of Hernon's lios.  It is a poorly preserved subcircular ringfort defined by stone faced bank. A gap to the south may have given original access.. 

Hernon's Cahir.  This is another circular stone fort similar in shape and size to the last one. It is situated in the next field and is in line with the other two. The structure is poorly preserved and is defined by a dry stone wall, obscured by field clearance rubble. There is an entrance to the north.


Curraghan Fort;  This fort is situated on Diskin's land on an elevated site overlooking the Sinking River. This is a circular earthen fort ,120 feet in diameter, with a thick outer bank,  on a gentle slope facing south. Mature trees now dominate the site but the banks and garth can be easily defined.

Cunniffe's Fort; Situated in the townland of Curraghan. An earthen ring fort close to the main road and in line with the other two Curraghan forts. The fort is 120 feet in diameter and overlooks the sinking River to the south. Its existence can still be defined.


Lisnabanon Fort; The third of a line of forts in Curraghan situated is on Diskin's land. This is a circular earthen rath facing south towards the junction of the Sinking and Dalgin Rivers. The fort is 120 feet in diameter and is partly overgrown with shrubbery. A section of the fort has been removed to facilitate road widening.

Fort near a stream; Situated close to a stream in Darrary on Cosgrove's farm. The fort was earthen, shaped as an irregular rectangle and built on an isolated hillock. The site can still be defined but overgrown with  bushes and briars and is filled with fields clearance.

Aggrigoole Beg Fort ; situated close to a stream on the farm of John Corley. It was an earthen fort in sight of Hernon's Fort in Quinaltagh. Little evidence of the site exists today.

Connally's Fort; Darrary North. An earthen fort 120 feet in diameter, in sight of the forts in Quinaltagh. The ditch and bank have been levelled.

Gortnagoyne Fort; Circular earthen fort in low lying ground. It was about 100 feet in diameter. No visible trace remains.

Gortnalea Fort A well defined fort situated in Gortnalea. Local tradition tell us it was used as a children's burial ground.

In later centuries, many superstitions were associated with ringforts and it was considered unlucky to cultivate or interfere with them.  Ring forts are also known as Fairy forts from the long held tradition that they are home to the fairies or "little people"!   Up to the middle of the 20th century some of the ringforts were used as a  burial ground for unbaptised children