Ireland East

Saturday 13 February

There is now no trace of the Old Mill of Nobber (N838851). In the village of Nobber (N825865) there is a very fine grave slab with the effigy of a mailed figure with a sword. It is surrounded by lots of writing and is dated 1619. In the churchyard is an ivy- covered wall with a small lower window set within a deep recess. The gravestones are mainly 19th century and modern but there are some 18th century stones as well as plain grave markers. There are two more interesting grave slabs. One of these has the figure of a woman in relief with arms raised level with her ears. Beside this is a slab with a coat of arms below which is a skull and crossbones, bell etc., and two figures, male and female. The male has a pointed cap. Also in the graveyard is a round stone, about 60cm diameter and 15cm thick. It has a hole about 20cm diameter. Close to the graveyard are the remains of Nobber Railway Station. Only two buildings remain and there is an overbridge to the south. To the north of the village is a very fine motte planted with a few bushes. It is set at the south end of a low hill which may have formed the bailey. To the north of the motte, on the other side of the road, is a lime-kiln.
A standing stone was noted in passing, about 200m west of Mullins Cross Roads (N840807). It is more than 1m high but was not closely inspected. A rath was examined near Darbys Cross Roads (N844795). It has a polygonal platform about 40m diameter but no traces of a bank or ditch. To the north-west is a stone, now recumbent, about 2m long by 20cm wide and tapering. It has a triangular cross-section.

The churchyard at Kilberry (N872740) has a number of new and recent graves. There are also some 18th and 19th century stones. The church is an ivy-covered rectangular ruin. To the east of this is a box tomb featuring a crucifixion panel at the west end. The lid has a skull and crossbones at the east end and a coat of arms in low relief at the west end. The basin of a stone font sits just outside the west end of the church. A short distance to the southeast of the church is a stone with a conical depression which appears to be a piscina basin from the church. At the gateway of the churchyard is a stone, carved in relief, indicating that the 'peers' were erected by Christopher Everard of Randlestown in 1715.

Athlumney Castle (N877675) is a fine square tower of three storeys plus attic, set at the end of a large rectangular multi-gabled house. The bottom storey of the tower is vaulted. A spiral stairway rises in the NW corner to roof level. The roof is missing but marks indicate that it was gabled. The roof walk is intact and there are good weepers. Small towers rise at the NE and SW corners. There are a number of small mural rooms and a mural stairway in the south wall leads down to a small room below first floor level. The original entrance to the tower was in the west wall but it is now blocked. It led to a large vaulted room via a short passage and was protected by a murder-hole which led from the small room below first floor level. There is now no access to the upper levels from the large vaulted room but there may have been a doorway leading to the spiral stairway in the NW corner. There is a projecting tower at the NE corner and a squinch between this and the main tower. This squinch houses a latrine chute but the entrance to this cannot be located. Running from the SW corner of the tower is a two-storey rectangular building with very fine mullioned and transomed windows and at least eight gables. There is a small projection at the SW which apparently housed the stairway. There are two ovens and a fine bow window in the south wall. The building is well provided with fireplaces.
On the other side of the road is a small motte which was not inspected closely. Near this is a graveyard and ruined church. The church has the remains of a tower at the west end but little other features. There are the usual mix of gravestones from the 18th century onwards. One interesting stone is to Mary Fox who died in 1750. There are two other 18th century burials. The next recorded burial is in 1922 and three others up to 1982. Over 200 years of dead Foxes.

At Trim the Yellow Steeple (N804569) is two walls of a very tall tower with a two-light pointed window near the top. There are traces of vaulting above and below this. The doorway is now capped by a lintel which appears to have come from a two-light window with ogee heads. To the left of the entrance is a spiral stairway which rises to roof level but it cannot now be climbed owing to a large gap near the bottom. Closer to the river is the Sheep Gate, which is part of the town's defences.
Beside St Patrick's Cathedral (CoI) (N802573) is a church ruin with a fine three- light window in the south wall. It has a square hood mould with two masks as stops. A number of carved stone fragments have been collected inside the ruin. At the NW corner of the cathedral is a fine rectangular tower with a small projecting turret at its NW corner. Near the top of the tower are some small windows. One of these is surmounted by a mask.

Trim Castle (N803567) has a massive square keep. Wings project from three of the walls which are about 3m thick in places. The interior is bisected by a thin wall. The keep is three storeys high with small turrets at each of the corners. The upper storeys could not be investigated. There is at least one fireplace leading to a round chimney. There are many remains of the outer defences. These include regularly spaced round towers in a curtain wall. There is a fine rectangular gatehouse (polygonal inside), which has the channel for a portcullis and two murder holes. On the opposite side of the ward is another gatehouse with similar features.
Donore Castle (N703498) is locked and the interior could not be investigated. However, it is known that a spiral stairway rises within the round projecting turret to the right of the entrance. The main tower has rounded corners. The doorway in the west wall is protected by a machicolation at roof level. The castle is vaulted above the first floor. There may be three storeys and all the windows are small. This is thought to be one of the original 10 castles of the 14th century.
Sunday 14 February
A rath was investigated (N574468). It is about 45m diameter and is very high on the north side. It has been greatly quarried on the SE side. Another rath was inspected (N548483). It consists of a low subcircular platform about 36m diameter with some traces of a ditch. The entrance may be seen in the north although the platform is very low in that region. A third rath (N544494) consists of a low platform about 30m diameter with good traces of an inner bank and some traces of a ditch. The outer edge is planted with thorn. The entrance may be in the NE but there are a number of gaps and some quarrying in the west.
A section of the Royal Canal was inspected (N550498). There is a lock, house and bridge near the railway line. The lock is in good order and has a new set of upper gates in place. The house is single storey and out of use. According to the map there are at least two locks nearby and downstream from this. These were not investigated.
At Rathwire (N567513) there is a mound which looks like a small motte. It is about 25m diameter at the top and is surrounded by a ditch which is deep in places. There are also some low outlying earthworks. It may be a modified rath. At Killucan there is a dish-shaped rath platform (N573520) about 30m diameter with some traces of a ditch and a low fragmentary outer bank. Another rath (N590587) is about 35m diameter with good traces of an inner bank and just the suggestion of a ditch. The bank is planted with thorn and the platform is planted with thistle. There is an entrance causeway in the east.

A castle (N605604) stands to full height with some damage near the top. The square-headed entrance is in the south wall and a mural stairway rises to the left. The stonework above the entrance is broken and there is no trace of a murder hole. There is a good vault above the first floor level. A small projecting tower, formed by the continuation of the N wall, juts out from the NE corner. This contains a number of small rooms. The tower is fragmentary above the vault but rises for two more storeys. At the second floor is a small mural chamber. There is another one at the third floor in the west wall. There are larger window openings at the upper levels but all worked stone has been removed. There are no traces of crenellations or machicolations. On the N wall on the outside is a fine mask and there is a slopstone about the third floor level.
A rath (N578662) was inspected. It has a platform about 35m diameter with some traces of a bank. The raised area in the middle may be a house platform. There is some damage in the NW but no traces of a ditch or outer bank.

Scurlockstown Castle (N570668) now consists of a fragment of wall connected to a round tower about three storeys high. This tower housed the stairway, fragments of which can be seen. There are indications of windows at first and second floor levels in the wall. The buttress against the tower seems to be a later addition. The castle would appear to have been a rectangular building with a round tower at the SE corner.
A rath platform was investigated (N544684). It is about 38m across with one end encroached on by the road. There is also some quarrying. A roadside motte was inspected (N775817). It is very steep and has a small amount of planting on one side. There are good traces of a ditch to the north and a small bailey to the east. About 300m to the E is a low platform which may be a rath but it was not closely inspected. Between this and the motte is a subcircular burial ground. In the middle is a low dished mound which may be the remains of a small nave and chancel church. Near the church is a slab with a ring-headed cross in low relief. The ring is about 40cm diameter and the stone is about 60cm high. Beside it is the gravestone of Turlough O'Sullivan who died in 1739 aged 72 years.

At Robertstown Cross Roads (N775843) is a castle consisting of a number of fine vaulted rooms at ground level. At the SE corner at first floor level is a projecting tower carried on round corbels. There is a similar projection along the west wall. These turrets feature very fine small keyhole-shaped defensive loops. An interior doorway at first floor level has fine pecked decoration. There is a good two-light mullioned window in the west wall near the south end. To the west, on the other side of the road, is a very good motte with a shallow ditch and no bailey.

To the south of Cruicetown Church (N795845) is a cross of 1688. It is a ring- headed cross with a short shaft. The west side features a crucifixion on top of a skull and surmounted by a winged head. The east side also has a winged figure with a Madonna and Child near the base. The church is a simple nave and chancel structure. Within the nave are a number of fragments including an undecorated font. In the south wall of the chancel is a tomb niche containing a box tomb with a double effigy also of 1688. The two figures are surmounted by a head flanked by trumpet-blowing cherubs with possible crossbones below. The east end of the tomb has a very fine skull and crossbones and the north side has one fragmentary panel and one good panel showing the upper half of a winged being with a crown. The back wall of the tomb niche has a lengthy inscription. About 100m NE of the church is a motte. It is greatly overgrown and slightly eroded in places. The tower much further east appears to be a windmill stump. It was not closely inspected.
Kilmainham Wood Railway Station (N794893) appears to be intact. The station building is now used as a dwelling. On the opposite platform is a goods shed now used by a printing firm.
Near Slane is a roadside cross (N936735) of similar design to the Dowdall Cross at Duleek i.e. a square pillar with a cap. On the east side of the pillar is a carving of St Peter. On the west face is a cleric with a crozier. The other faces have coats of arms and inscriptions cover all the available spaces. The cap features winged creatures.
Monday 15 February

Ravensdale Park Court Grave (J082168) is a greatly scattered monument. The court can be clearly seen and there are at least six stones still in place. It is about 5m wide by 3m deep and leads to a gallery with one chamber, about 3.5m long, clearly visible. There are possibly two more chambers of similar size. There is a great deal of cairn material which may not all be original. The cairn is about 20m long. In Ravensdale Forest (J084155) there is a group of eight standing stones forming an oval structure about 5m by 8m.
The court grave in Drumnasillagh (J079132) is now greatly obscured, possibly by field clearance, and encroached on by a wall. The court at the west end is possibly 6m deep by 6m wide although only six stones of the south arm can definitely be traced. The entrance to the gallery is visible but the chambers are filled with rubble. The north side of the facade is visible. The tomb is set in a wedge-shaped cairn, possibly 20m wide at the front and over 30m long.

Ballymakellett Court Grave (J098112) is greatly overgrown. Three large stones are visible which may have formed part of the north arm of the court. Other stones, partly obscured, may have formed part of a gallery. The full extent is not clear but the cairn is at least 10m long. A short distance to the north is a standing stone at least 1m in all dimensions.
An unsuccessful search was made for the megalithic tomb in Faughart Lower (J052119). The souterrain beside Faughart Motte was not located (J057126) although lots of stones and part of a stone wall may be traces. The motte is stripped bare in places and is slowly collapsing. Faughart Graveyard (J059126) has the uninteresting remains of an old church. To the north is a low round structure looking like the base of a Round Tower. It encloses a small mound which is topped by a cross-base. A short distance to the NE is a low horseshoe-shaped mound with two stones forming a portal at the south. A large moss-grown stone, almost totally buried, occupies the centre of the structure. The gravestones are a mixture of ancient and modern. On the east side of the graveyard is a holy well with a very fine stone conical cap. Beside it is a laurel bush, now used as a rag tree.
Balregan Castle (J025104) was viewed from a distance. It appears to be a rectangular structure with a projecting square corner tower. It is ivy-covered and seems to be vaulted above the ground floor. It stands near a large house and the ruins of a mill from which issue two tail-races which prevented access to the castle.
A rath in Lurgankeel (J019124) was inspected. It is about 40m diameter with traces of an inner bank. There are some traces of a ditch and an outer bank on the north side.
Tuesday 16 February A rath near Ballyroney was inspected (J216378). It is about 55m diameter with some traces of an inner bank. The platform is very high in places and there is a good ditch but no outer bank. The rim of the platform is planted with trees and shrubs.

Ballyroney Motte is (J216395) is very overgrown. It is flanked by two crescent- shaped baileys on the north and south and there is a good defensive ditch and bank on the east and west.

All that remains of Seafin Castle (J221388) is an L-shaped wall about 2m thick. It has a good batter in places but it is greatly undermined. At the corner of the L is a deep recess which may have been a window. The wall stands at the eastern edge of a circular platform about 30m diameter.
In Lisnacroppin (J193373) there is a semicircular bank about 2m high within which is a ditch about 10m wide and a mound about 3m high. All this lies west of a N-S line. Any traces of a structure to the east of this line have been removed.

A rath, visited on a previous occasion, was again inspected (J169345). The height of the platform decreases from west to east but the height of the bank increases. There is a large gap in the east.
The rath in Lisnashrean (J170334) was again visited. The platform is about 40m diameter with a very good bank and some traces of a ditch. There is an entrance with causeway in the east. The bank is greatly overgrown but the platform is clear.