Drumanagh Promontory Fort (Copyright 2003 John M. Byrne).

 

Drumanagh Promontory Fort is a Recorded Monument in private ownership and is protected under the Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, l994.  It is further protected by a Preservation Order which was placed on it in 1977.  So far, no excavations have taken place, however a number of artefacts dating to Roman times were found in the past.  The tower is a Martello Tower, and dates to the early nineteenth century, not Roman times.  I have spoken with a member of the Irish Museum about the artefacts found at the site.  As it stands they have a large collection of artefacts and they are not sure what artefacts come from Drumanagh, and what artefacts come from other sites.  As a result of legal proceedings taken out by the owner of the property, the Museum has been instructed by their legal team not to make any determinations as to the provenance of any of the artefacts in order to avoid being in contempt of court (the legal action is between the property owner and the finder along with the Office of Public works, not the Museum).  Until the legalities have been sorted, there is no way to tell what artefacts have been found there, so there is no way to guess what the function of Drumanagh was in the Iron Age.  One thing however that seems to be the case is that none of the artefacts in the collection which may contain Drumanagh artefacts are Roman weapons, so other reports that you may find claiming that it was a Roman military fort have jumped the gun considerably.  Another problem is the fact that no aerial photographs seem to show anything that resembles the foundations of a Roman military building.  Of course, that doesn't mean that none exist on the site, but it does mean that any claims that one does exist there are completely unsubstantiated.  In Barry Raftery's book, "Pagan Celtic Ireland", the following site plan is included on page 207:

From:  Raftery, B. 1997.  "Pagan Celtic Ireland".  Thames & Hudson Ltd.  London.


The long diagonal double lines are a track way, it is impossible to say how old it is from the ground.  It leads to the Martello Tower, so it may date back to the time of the tower.  Rush is just to the south of the diagram, that would have been the main settlement that serviced the tower when it was in use.  There is no sign of the two rectangular structures on the north of the promontory from ground level, although nowadays there is another track way leading to the tower from the gap in the ditches to the north, and another track way that runs parallel to the ditches within the promontory. 

In order to be able to answer the question as to who used the promontory, and when, we will just have to wait until the legal proceedings are finally sorted (which is not likely to be any time soon, unfortunately).  Any claims as to the functions etc. of the site that are made before then are simply guesses, which have no proof to back them up (although some, like those in "Pagan Celtic Ireland" are educated guesses, and make no definite claims not supported by existing evidence).  Hopefully, something will be sorted and an excavation can take place, but the site isn't considered a priority to the current Minister in charge of heritage.

 

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All original content on this web site Copyright 2003 John M. Byrne.  All rights reserved.