Cyclopean Architecture

Of that massive rude architecture composed of large stones without cement and forming walls and fortresses of immense strength, there are many remains in Ireland, resembling the Cyclopean architecture of ancient Greece and Etruria: such as the fortresses of Aileach, in Donegal; and of Dun Aonguis, on one of the Arran Isles, off the coast of Galway. At Knockfennell, in Limerick, and Cahir Concree, in Kerry, are the remains of Cyclopean fortresses; similar remains are at Cahirdonnell, in the parish of Kilcrohane, county Kerry; but the most remarkable specimen of Cyclopean architecture in Ireland is that called Staigue Fort, situate also in the parish of Kilcrohane, on a hill near the bay of Kenmare. It is built of stones, without cement, but of admirable architecture, of a circular form; and the internal area about ninety feet in diameter, the walls eighteen feet high and thirteen feet thick, a doorway opening to the interior; on the outside a broad and deep fosse surrounds the entire building. A full account of “Staigue Fort,” given by Mr. Bland in the year 1821, may be seen in the 14th volume of the “Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy;” and there is a model of the fort in the Royal Dublin Society House.

That Ireland has been peopled from the most remote ages, there exists abundant evidence over the entire country.[1] In every county, and almost in every parish are found some memorials, such as remains of Cromleacs, Druidical temples, round towers, cairns, sepulchral mounds, Cyclopean fortresses, raths, and other antiquities, the histories of which, and even their traditions, are long lost in the night of time.


[1] County: “The traces of the husbandman’s labour,” says De Vere, “remain on the summits of hills which have not been cultivated within the records of tradition; and the implements with which he toiled have been found in the depth of forest or bog.”