The Dingle Peninsular
The Republic of Ireland
Ringforts are the most numerous and widespread field monuments in Ireland. These sites were commonly referred to by the terms fort, rath, lios, cathair or caiseal, the individual site names often incorporatng one or other of these terms. Rath and lios usually apply to earthen banked ringforts and cathair or caiseal to stone cashels.
The majority of these were enclosed farmsteads of the free farmers of the Early Christian Period, the banks and fosse acting as a fence to prevent livestock from straying and to protect against cattle raiders and wild animals. the small size of the sites suggest they were occupied by a single family, the houses, farm buildings and storage places occuring within the enclosed space. They would have been inhabited from ancient times until around 1200AD.
Bee Hive huts were often found attached to each other with a doorway leading from one to another. These houses were generally made of stone because stone was plentiful. They were round like a beehive and a special type of craftsmanship is apparent in the building. They were erected in the form of a circle of succesive strata of stone, each stratum lying a little closer to the centre than the one beneath and so on upwards until only a small aperture is left at the top which can be closed with a single small flagstone or capstone. No motar was used in building. The stones have a downward and outward tilt so as to shed water. This method of building is called corbelling.
The cashel site of Caher Conor (Cathair na g Conchuireach) is occupied by five structures, there is also a souterrain and one of the structural stones in the cashel wall is inscribed with a cross.