Saturday 8 January 2011: Abandoned building 7: the ring fort
This may not look like a building but it is!! Himself needed some air, too much slaving over a troublesome computer, so what could be more exciting than going to visit a ring fort - not much in my estimation!!
Ring forts are very mysterious places. There are literally thousands of them dotted over the Irish countryside, invisible unless you start looking and then they are everywhere. Built on the top of hills they aren't really forts but small fortified farms - the buildings inside, the fields outside. Usually they were enclosed by a large protective wall and surrounded by a deep ditch, fortified against the weather, wild animals and unfriendly neighbours. Walls were either made of turf (rath) or stone (caher). Ring forts are often referred to as fairy forts and treated with great respect and very rarely destroyed. We still believe in fairies here!
This is a very fine example and is perched on the top of a small hill overlooking Dunmanus Bay. The walls still remain as does the very impressive ditch, now filled with water like a moat. This bit was especially magical and mysterious - old willows hanging over the water-filled ditch, strands of ivy trailing from the boughs and in the banks evidence of badgers or foxes - big holes leading underground. Hard to imagine what it was like to live here, probably very tough but within a mile of this fort there are at least four others.
Crazy weather today - brilliant sunshine, hail, rainbows, wild skies - nice :)