Carrownalurgan Ringfort

Wiremesh Topographic image of Carrowlurgan Rath

Ringforts were usually circular in shape; they were situated on high ground.  Farmsteads were enclosed within a large circle.  The homesteads were located in a small area to enable greater shelter for the family’s animals.  This Ringfort at Ceathru na Lorgan near Westport is an excellent example of the early Christian Settlements from 500 – 1000 A D. Carrownalurgan Ringfort has a notable feature of a dressed limestone slab (a grave ) with a Latin inscription: ‘Orate Pro Amina Petri Brown Qui Me Fieri Fedic A D 1723.’   This last Catholic Marquis of Sligo of Westport House Peter Brown was evicted by his son when he converted to Protestantism. [i]

Ringforts were usually circular in shape, they were farmsteads enclosed by an earthen bank (Raths and Lios) or by a stone wall (Cashels, Duns &  Cahers. )  Houses would have been in a small area of the fort.  Possibly most of the area was used for sheltering animals at night or in wintertime.  Carrownalurgan ringfort is situated on a ridge to the right of the Westport / Louisburg Road.  The site dates from 500 to 1000 AD.  The diameters are thirty – eight metres North  South by thirty – six metres East West.  The Ringfort was located on the highest point of a ridge.  There is also a limestone slab, possibly an altar stone.  It dated back to 1723, it was carved with a Latin inscription requesting the wayfarer to pray for the soul of Peter Browne. [ii]

Eileen Battersley reported in an article titled ‘Following the Clew Trial’ in the ‘The Irish Times’ of 6th August 2003 that the Clew Bay Archaeological Trail was to be officially launched on 1st September that same year.  Carrownalurgan Ringfort is situated on a ridge to the right of the Westport / Louisburgh Road.  At the site is a limestone slab, possibly an altar stone.  It is dated 1723, it requests the viewer to pray for the soul of Peter Brown. [iii]

Ráths may be classified as a space frequently surrounded by a bank or fosse.  According to (O ‘Riórdáin 1987 ) they were a form of protected homesteads.  Lucas stated that they likely were built to repeal the cattle raids of the early Christian Period throughout Ireland.  The name Carrownalurgan translates as the quarter of the elongated hill or ridge (Morahan L. 2001 )  Carrownalurgan Ringfort is a classic Ráth located on a Drumlin.  Its broad bank of earth or stones varies from 5 metres to 7. 3 metres at the base.  The construction included a fosse the measures 4 metres in width plus 0.4 metres in depth.  This Ringfort is privately owned.  Location Grid Reference is 0989150 E, 28341 N. [iv]

Carrownalurgan Ringfort or Cathruí na Lorgan meant ‘Quarter of the Low Long Hill. ’  It was located on the right – hand side of the Westport to Louisburg Road.  It was an excellent example of an early Christian Settlement. Class as an univallate Rath with Crest to Crest diameters of thirty – eight metres North South by thirty – six metres East West.  It was originally regarded as a place of worship in the Penal Days.  A reference to an old church access from the road to the fort is featured in an article in the ‘History of Mayo’  Vol 1 by Knox (page 204 )  One notable feature of this fort is a dressed limestone slab, carved in high relief with a Latin inscription that stated Orate Pro Amina Petri Brown Qui Me Fieri Fedic A D 1723’ the English translation was ‘Pray for the soul of Peter Brown whom this was erected in 1723.’  Peter Brown was the local Patron who was son plus successor of Colonel John Brown of Westport, a Lawyer & Officer in King James’s army that was defeated at Limerick during 1691. (Images may be seen in booklet ), (Edel Hackett ) ‘Clew Bay Archaeological Trail: exploring 6,000 years of Mayo’s Heritage’ [v]

Irish Ringforts were usually circular settlements built from the Bronze Age up to 1000 A D.  They were constructed with stone or earth.  The enclosures had a house inside.  Earthen Ringforts had a mound circular rampart with a stakewall. [vi]


Carrownalurgan Ringfort is marked on this link:

Google Maps:,-9.5471269,926m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1

A video of Bronagh Joyce speaking on 23 August 2012 at Carrownalurgan Ring Fort by Robert Maloney may be viewed at this site:

Publications with reference to Ringforts include the following:

O ‘Keefe Tadhg 2000  ‘Medieval Ireland – An Archaeology’  Tempus Gloucestershire

Graham J. & Proudfoot  L. J.  1993  ‘An Historical Geography of Ireland’  Academic Press London

Edwards Nancy Routledge 2006  ‘The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland’ 

Ó ‘Croinin Dáibhi ed. 2005  ‘A New History of Ireland: Prehistoric and Early Irish’  Vol 1 Oxford University Press

‘Ancient Law: The Law of Status or Franchise’ in the Royal Academy, Dublin Vol XXXV1 C. 1923, pages 313 – 365. [vii]

1989 Lucas A.T.  ‘Cattle in Ancient Ireland’  as found in Stout M. 2000 ‘The Irish Ringfort’ Four Courts Press on page 20. [viii]

O ‘Riórdáin S. P. ‘Antiquities of the Irish Countryside’  1942, 5th Edition  Reprinted 1991 Routledge.  This link:

Lucas A T. 1989 ‘Cattle in Ancient Ireland’  mentioned in the 2016 ‘Cattle in Ancient and Modern Ireland: Farming Practices, Environment and Economy’   edited by Michael O ‘Donnell, Fergus Kelly, James H. Mc Adam Cambridge Scholars Publishers.  This link has an option to read article:

1983 Lynn C. J.  ‘Some Early Ringforts and Crannógs’  features in the ‘Journal of Irish Archaeology,’ pages 47 – 58.  This link has a PDF:

This PDF may be of interest:

Published online 6th January 2015: Darren Limbert 1996 ‘Irish Ringforts: A Review of their Origins’  in the ‘Archaeological Journal’  Vol 153, pages 243 – 289:


[i] Carrownalurgan Ringfort  ( [assessed 27th July 2020]

[ii] Carrownalurgan  Ringfort ( [assessed 27th July 2020]

[iii] Carrownalurgan Ringfort ( [assessed 27th July 2020]

[iv] Mayo 9 ( [assessed 27th July 2020]

[v]Clew Bay Archaeological Trail: exploring 6,000 years of Mayo’s Heritage’

[vi] Ringfort ( [assessed 27th July 2020]

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Mayo 9 (


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