Clogher Hillfort: Rathmore

A magnificent complex of earthworks crowns this hilltop, spanning the long period from the late Bronze Age to the 9th century AD.

The location of this monument is very important, dominating the vital route through the Clogher valley between mountain ranges. Excavation between 1969 and 1977 suggested an enclosure of the late Bronze Age, but no sign of this appears above ground. In the Iron Age the hilltop was enclosed with a roughly rectangular earthwork, which enclosed an earlier, small ring-barrow at the south end of the site. In the late 6th century AD, when this was the royal centre of the Uí Chremthainn, rulers of the kingdom of Airgialla, the site was remodelled with the building of the substantial circular earthwork, still visible, on the highest part of the hill.

Other features include the complex, probably multi-period earthworks at the north approach to the hill, the triangular mound at the south end, interpreted as a ceremonial or inauguration site, and a double-banked droveway running off to the south east, outside the area in State Care. Finds from the excavation confirm the importance of the people who lived here. They include pottery imported from the Mediterranean and France and the remains of fine bronze-working activity. After the 8th century this was no longer a royal headquarters and the site may have been abandoned in the 9th century.

Source and image credit: Communities NI