Tara and Burren among seven Irish sites nominated for World Heritage status
Seven scenic gems from the Emerald Isle put forward for consideration
The Western Stone Forts, comprising the Aran Islands, County Galway Group of seven Forts, Cahercommaun, the Burren County Clare, Caherconree and Benagh, Dingle Peninsula and Staigue, Iveragh Peninsula, County Kerry, represent the penultimate use of a distinctive settlement form i.e. the drystone, generally circular, enclosure, a class of monument that was widely used by the maritime communities of the north Atlantic seaboard of Western Europe, throughout much of later prehistory.
Western Stone Forts represent the apogee of the ringfort class of monument (an enclosed farmstead occupied by an extended kin group). The distribution, character, and hierarchy of forms of ringforts provide a mirror of the organisation, economy and polity of Irish society at a particular period (AD 700-1000).
Western Stone Forts constitute an impressive corpus of vernacular architecture and represent a creative human response to the stony environment of western Ireland. Although separated in time and place from other stone fort / roundhouse traditions of Atlantic Europe, the Irish forts, nonetheless incorporate elements of an architectural repertoire peculiar to that region, in particular the chevaux de frise feature, murus duplex method of wall construction, and intra-mural features.
The landscape setting of these forts testifies to a way of life (tribal pastoralist) that disappeared in Ireland, and across most of Western Europe, at the beginning of the second millennium AD, to be replaced subsequently by the feudal lordships of the medieval era.
For more information contact Lisa Kearns at firstname.lastname@example.org