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Ringforts Cahersiveen


These Forts are over the bridge from Cahersiveen and are near Ballycarbery Castle. They are set in a beautiful surrounding with nice views all around.

The Cahergall ringfort has undergone extensive reconstruction but part of the original is still there. It is as perfect an example of a ring fort as can be found in the area. The design is a credit to the people who built it. There is an inner sanctum where a fire could be lit and people could stay warm and also an outer sanctum with thick walls and steps. The outer wall is higher in the direction of the prevailing winds to provide maximum shelter.

Leacanabuale ringfort is located close to the Cahergall ringfort. The smoothness of its exterior curves is impressive and not easily scaled by an attacker. The inside surface incorporates several sets of steps which would have given the defenders access to the top of the wall. The gateway is narrow to make it easier to defend and may also have been barred by some kind of door.

The round houses inside the wall are small and were probably quite snug. In one of these houses is the entrance to a souterrain, a narrow, shallow, curving tunnel which led to a chamber in the ring wall. The purpose of features such as this is the subject of scholarly debate. Suggested uses include refuge, storage and the ubiquitous standby ritual. As most seem to be unique in size and shape they probably had various functions which would almost certainly have changed over the centuries.

As well as in Ireland, souterrains are found in Scotland, Brittany and Cornwall, giving rise to the supposition that they are a purely Celtic architectural feature.