Raths (so called from the Irish “Rath,” which signifies a fort or fortress, but commonly called Lios, which also signifies a fortress or habitation) are circular earthen ramparts, surrounded with a deep fosse or ditch, some of them composed of a single rampart, others of them of two, and some having treble ramparts; the usual area in the interior of these raths contains from about half a rood to half an acre, but some of them are much larger, and contain in the interior from one to two acres. These raths are mostly situated on hills, and are found in every county; they are extremely numerous in most of the counties of Ulster and Connaught; and there are at least thirty thousand of them still remaining in Ireland, though many of them have been levelled. But, as the uneducated entertain a belief, transmitted down by tradition from time immemorial, that it is unlucky to meddle with them (supposed as they are to be sacred or enchanted ground, and the habitations of the “good people” or fairies), and that any intermeddling with them is always followed by some misfortune, this childish fear, coupled with a proper feeling of veneration for antiquities, has fortunately preserved from destruction those interesting memorials of remote ages. These Raths are commonly but erroneously called Danish forts, from some tradition that they were erected as fortresses by the Danes; but though some of them may have been erected by the Danes, many thousands of them are found in remote parts in the interior of the country, where the Danes had no possessions; being chiefly located in the towns along the sea coast. It is therefore evident that these Raths must have formed the fortresses and chief habitations of the ancient Irish, and many of them no doubt erected by the Firvolgians, Tua-de-Danans, and Milesians, long and long before the Danes arrived in Ireland.