Thursday, 12 September 2013

A 1000 year old crannog

Last weekend we went on another adventure through ancient Ireland. This time to Fair Head which is the most North-Easterly point of Northern Ireland. On top of the cliff are a couple of little lakes and one of those has a thousand year old crannog on it which I had been desperate to visit for ages (and scope out as a possible camping spot).
Crannogs are artificial (or partially artifical) islands used as dwellings in Scotland and Ireland in the Neolithic Period and sometimes inhabited as late as the 17th and 18th Centuries. This one on Fair Head has had some excavation and shown to be inhabited about 1000 years ago. There are about 1,200 of these structures in Ireland and they were often home to kings, lords, prosperous farmers and sometimes isolated monastic groups.
This one is pretty small and you can see in the picture above how the island has been strengthened with a circular stone wall. There were a few boats lying around the deserted lough but no oars so we weren't brave enough to venture out to the crannog.
Just beyond the lake is Fair Head itself, a sheer cliff which is popular with serious climbers. Lying down and looking over the cliff edge was as daring as we got.
So that's one more ancient Irish structure investigated, only about 50,000 more to go!

No comments:

Post a Comment