Kiltullagh Crannóg

On the southern fringe of the parish of Glenamaddy close to the Kiltullagh – Creggaun townland mearing one will find an impressive crannóg. The nearest public road is half a kilometre away with access by foot across farmland subject to obtaining the permission of landowners.  This marvellous structure, located to the south east of Kiltullagh Lough, consists of a subcircular island measuring 42m north south by 26m east west and rising 1.5m above the water level and standing in about 16m of water. Due to the depth of the surrounding water the builders may have used an existing natural shelf to anchor it, thereby reducing the need to transport large amounts of building material to the site. As no archaeological survey has been carried out, we can only speculate as to when it may have been constructed and for how long it was inhabited.

The ruins of Kiltullagh Castle, the stronghold of the Concannon clan, is situated close to the lake shore within easy reach of the crannóg. The crannóg may have been constructed by the clan who were important chieftains in the area from the 11th to the 17th century, or, the site for their castle may have been selected because the crannóg was already in existence and offered a convenient, secure bolthole in the event of an attack. Construction would have taken a long time and have involved many people. There is no evidence that it was connected to the mainland by a causeway. The only way of gaining access nowadays is by boat. A wooden walkway mounted on poles linking it to the shore may once have been a feature but, if so, there is no trace of it now. It may not have been in constant use but the regular attacks by competing local chieftains and unfriendly invaders from further afield during medieval times may well have meant that it had to be continually maintained in a habitable state. Crannóga were considered to be status symbols representing the wealth and social standing of their owners.

Crannóga were lake dwellings built on artificially-made islands and are excellent examples of the ingenuity of people to adapt their dwellings to suit local conditions. They were used for quite a long period of time, from the late Bronze age, right through to the early 17th century and were formed by piling alternate layers of brushwood, peat, stones and straw on top of a log base until eventually the whole mass rose above the water surface. The entire structure was fenced around with timbers and huts were then built on the surface, probably on stilts as water levels are subject to fluctuation. Local chieftains and their kinsfolk constituted the most likely inhabitants

Author: Pat Keaveny


Glenamaddy Map and Gossiping Guide – Glenamaddy Arts and Historical Society 1991