Connemara



Friday 31 October


Murrisk Abbey (L920828) has the remains of a rectangular church with crenellations. There are some nice windows in the south wall with trefoil heads and others have ogee heads. The former have pointed moulding on the outside and the rest have square moulding. There is a good east window. Beside the doorway in the north wall of the church is a holy-water font with foliated carving. This doorway leads to a rectangular building running north. It contains some well-preserved vaulted rooms and a spiral stairway leading above. There is a small carved mask on the outside of the south wall.

Kilgeever Abbey (L836808) has a holy well associated with Croagh Patrick. The church is a rectangular ruin with little of interest. At the doorway in the south wall is a good hinge-stone and some fine pecked decoration. There is a single-light east window and a small window in the south wall. There is an ambry in the east and north wall. The west wall is missing. Just outside the south doorway is a crude cross-slab with incised cross. Inside the church is a late 19th century tombstone with a simple cross within a ring. There are pennies scattered on it. The churchyard has mainly 19th and 20th century memorials with some plain grave markers. There are some crude inscribed crosses.

At Killeen (L757755) there is a slab over 2m high by 70cm wide and 35cm thick. It features an incised marigold about 50cm diameter. In the churchyard are a number of plain stones and a large stone with a long groove. Closer to the road is a smaller cross- inscribed stone now surmounting a priest's grave. It is about 85cm high by 35cm wide and 5cm thick. The cross is about 40cm by 30cm with expanded ends and there are four small crosses in the quadrants. These are about 12cm by 10cm. There is some carving just below the main cross.


The Clapper Bridge (L756760) is an interesting structure consisting of at least 30 flat arches. It is situated downstream from the confluence of two small rivers. Each arch consists of a flat slab resting on masonry supports. The bridge has a low wall at the downstream edge with a number of small rectangular openings.


In Srahwee is Tobernahaltora (L795745), a very fine example of a wedge-tomb. It is about 5m long by 2m wide and consists of a single chamber topped by one large slab about 2m square. The uprights are about 1m high and the small antechamber occupies about one third of the tomb. There are good traces of double walls on both sides and the entrance is in the west.


At Cong (M148553) are the extensive remains of an Augustinian Abbey. There is a fragment of a church with three lancet east windows. A doorway in the south wall leads to a three-storey tower with stairway. There are two fine round-headed windows. Beyond this is a vaulted room with a round-headed window and a round-headed doorway leads out. To the west are the remains of the cloister, entered through two pointed doorways, one of which is richly carved. There are also two round-headed windows with smaller inserts. The cloister fragments were rebuilt in the 19th century and feature some carving from that date as well as original work. The north doorway of the church has Romanesque columns and a pointed top.

Saturday 1 November


A very fine stone circle (M164560) was investigated. The diameter is about 15m and there are at least 20 stones. The maximum height is about 1m although there are a number of very low stones and some gaps. Trees encroach on part of the circle and there may be a low grass-covered cairn in the middle. On the other side of the road are three standing stones (M162561). They are about 1.25 to 1.5m high. Two of them form an east- west line with the third slightly to the south. This stone is split and the gap is filled with rubble. It forms part of a field boundary. The other stones stand free. These are almost cylindrical and about 1m diameter. They are about 4m apart and 3m from the third stone.

At Cong there is a mill (M148554) with a fragment of a wooden stream-wheel in place. It seems to have a corn-kiln and is about four storeys high. An inscription over the doorway states that it was built by the Elwood Company in 1839. The interior is inaccessible but there seems to be at least two stones at the first floor and all the machinery seems to be in place. Close to the mill is a lock of the Corrib Canal. This is intact except for the gates and the line of the canal can be clearly seen running northwards. The lock is about 4m wide and 20m long.

At Ballymacgibbon North (M183553) there is a huge cairn surmounted by a small modern cairn. The main cairn is of loose stones and is very high. It may have a fragmentary low bank around the base. In the field beside it is a small overgrown cashel. The walls are scattered and moss-grown. The amount of stone would indicate a high wall but the internal diameter is only about 25m. Close to the southern edge is a deep depression which may be part of a collapsed souterrain and other stones may be souterrain lintels.


At Cross (M194553) there is a large corn-mill with three storeys plus attic and five bays long. There is a ruined wooden stream-wheel. The interior is ruinous but there is a millstone casing in place on the remains of the first floor. In the rubble below there are four sets of stones, three of them encased. At the other end is a fireplace and a number of broken perforated tiles would indicate the former presence of a corn-kiln. There are also remains of a grain elevator.

A castle (M254583) to the south of Kilmaine was noted in passing. It is an ivy- covered ruin. A rath, visited on a previous occasion, was again explored (M245600). It is about 30m diameter with a high platform. Near one corner is the foundation of a rectangular building about 5m by 10m. At the other corner is a house platform about 5m square within which is the entrance to a souterrain. This is low but the souterrain opens rapidly to about 1.5m high by 1m wide and 5m long. About 200m distant is another rath (M245598). It was not explored at this time but is known to be lower and wider than the first rath. It does not contain a souterrain.


At Ardkill (M268624) there is a fine conical windmill stump. It stands at the edge of a small cliff. It appears to be full height but only one entrance is visible. A rath was explored (M255615). It is about 35m diameter with a well-preserved ditch and outer bank. The entrance is in the east and there is a smaller gap in the west. Slightly to the north of centre is the entrance to a souterrain, now blocked. Rahennaguagh (M255608) is another rath about 36m diameter with a fragmentary inner bank and no trace of an outer bank or ditch.

A ruined church was inspected (M207552). There are two plain east windows. At the west end is a tower, possibly residential. It is vaulted above the ground floor and there is a hole for the ladder leading to the first floor. It is lit by small defensive slits.

Sunday 2 November


Clifden Railway Station (L660509) is fairly intact although the track and platforms are missing. There is a canopy attached to a good station building which is now used as a dwelling. A double road goes through the running shed which is now used as a bus garage. The water tower and tank are still in place.

The Old Gaol at Clifden (L658508) is a two-storey building with a strong perimeter wall. On the ground floor is a room about 5m square, as well as four small cells. Upstairs are three more cells. Each cell measures about 3m by 2m.

A large cashel-like structure was investigated (L640454). It is about 60m diameter and thickly planted round the edge with rhododendron. The wall is mostly intact but low on the south-east side. It is about 1m thick and there are a number of small gaps on the west side.


Ballinahinch Railway Station (L766468) is intact and is now used as a dwelling. There is a goods shed in fine condition. To the west the track bed crosses the river on a two-span metal bridge on stone piers.


Aughnanure Castle (M153416) is a very fine tower-house standing to full height with good crenellations. There are machicolations in the middle of each wall and wall bartizans at the corners flanking the doorway. The castle is lit by small slits as well as some larger two-light windows. At least one of the smaller windows has an ogee head and some decoration. Access was not possible at this time. The larger windows seem to be later insertions. At least one of them encroaches on an older window. There is a latrine chute exit in the north wall. One of the roof weepers on the east and three weepers on the south have crude carved faces. There are two chimneys. The tower is about six storeys high and is roofed. To the south is the ruin of a large rectangular building of which only one wall remains. This is lit by two two-light windows one of which is almost complete. The windows have deep round-headed recesses which are highly decorated with foliage. The outer side of these windows has some decoration. At the south-east corner of the tower-house and detached is a small round turret which may be part of an inner bawn. At the north-east corner is a fragment of a square tower. Beyond these are portions of an outer bawn with a tower at the south-east corner. The outer bawn is polygonal with many defensive loops.

A fragment of a castle at Tullokyne (M237368) was inspected. Only the west wall stands to full height. This has a number of small windows with ogee heads. There is a small slit at the north-west corner. The tower was four storeys high plus attic and was vaulted above the third floor. There is a fireplace at the first floor and a garderobe also at this level in the west wall. There is evidence of small chambers running along the north wall. Across the road a flight of steps leads down to a rock-cut well.

The old church to the east of Moycullen (M230333) is an ivy-covered ruin with two gables and a small fragment of connecting wall. There is a small square-headed east window and a small west window. A memorial slab (1747) within the church features a coat of arms with a two-masted boat in sail, flanked by animals, possibly hounds. The churchyard is greatly overgrown. Closer to the village is an isolated railway overbridge (M224333) now enclosed and used as a store. To the south-east is a level crossing keeper's house. To the north- west is Moycullen Railway Station (M220334). This is a single-storey building, now used as a dwelling. Beyond it is the running shed to which is attached the water-tower minus its tank.

Monday 3 November


Annaghdown Cathedral (M286382) is a simple rectangular church with a pointed north doorway and a bell-cote over the west gable. It has a magnificently carved east window. This features chevrons with intertwined beasts and foliage at the bottom. The outside of the window has simple rounded moulding. A short distance to the north is the ruin of a nave and chancel church. This has traces of an east window, some other small windows and a north doorway. Just to the south is a smaller rectangular ruin.

Annaghdown Priory (M286380) consists of the ruins of a nave and chancel church with a north doorway and a window high in the west wall. There is a small window in the north wall and a gap where the east window should be. In the chancel is a fine round- headed north window and a larger round-headed south window. Above this is rounded moulding with beasts at the stops. The open space to the south of the church is presumably the site of the cloister and to the east of this is a range of buildings originally two storeys high with possibly four chambers at each level. To the south of the cloister is a collection of carved fragments.

About 200m to the south of the priory is a castle (M288378) standing to full height. The doorway is protected by a good murder-hole leading from the first floor and by a small loop from the stairway. To the left is a low narrow chamber and a broad stairway rises to the right within the east wall as far as the first floor. Thereafter it becomes spiral and is intact as far as the second but fragmentary beyond that. There is a fireplace at the first floor and mural chambers in the south wall at the first and second floors. There is a vault above the second floor. A long passage in the north wall leads from the stairway between second and third floors. There are traces of bartizans at the corners of the south wall and another at the north-east corner. There are no crenellations. The castle is lit by small slits at the lower levels and two-light windows at the higher levels. There is the usual pecked decoration at the doorways. There is a slopstone at the second floor and a latrine chute exit at the base of the north wall. The east and west gables are set back from the level of the main wall. There are traces of a gable level with the south wall and there may have been a similar north gable.

A number of raths were noted in passing on the road north of Knock. Derrymeel Fort (M435885) was investigated. It is a fine rath about 33m diameter outside of which is a deep and wide ditch. Beyond this is a substantial bank, a second ditch and another bank. The total diameter is about 60m. Both banks are fairly intact in the south and west. The inner ditch is about 3m deep and there is a good entrance causeway in the east. In the north-east sector of the rath is an L-shaped depression about 15m long which may be a collapsed souterrain.

Just outside Cooloony is a circular rath-like structure (G695257). One part of it contains a high inner platform but the exact nature of it is not clear. It may be a mutilated rath. Killanummery Church (G811289) is now abandoned and all the memorials have been removed. The windows in the north wall have been blocked at an early stage. It is apparently the site of an ancient church and 14th century hospital.



TOURS