Possible location of lost tumulus

Taking leave from my venerable word and history distorting monk during Ailech I, for reasons of sanity, I paced up Greenan Hill along the ancient road on March 16, and was fortunate to finally meet the owner of the old farm and all the fields on the northern slope up to the monument. He not only confirmed that the road came down the hill past the cottage but he could also tell me that in the decades of working the fields he never made any findings, no pottery or weapons of any kind or age. If Greenan would have been this great palace and seat of power, than surely there would be some traces of activity at least at the upper end of the road. Like the finds Ian Leitch keeps turning up from the other site at Aileach Mor and hinterland by just walking the fields, i.e. tools from the Stone Age up to the Iron Age, burn marks and remains of circular structures. But there are no signs of habitational human activity on the hill at all, at least not so far.
But I may have found one stone belonging to the lost tumulus. It seems to be in the right location, is about and very badly guessed 80 meters from the gate and south eastwards from it. I found it by stepping in a hole and the stone coverers partially a waterlogged hollow. The surface is reasonable flat and the stone itself appears to be over 4 feet long by 2 feet wide and circa 4 inches thick.

6 thoughts

  1. Interesting find! Apparently the tumulus pre-dates the ringfort itself, by a couple of centuries, possibly back to neolithic age. I’ll be sure to have a look for it next time I’m in Grainan! thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. You are welcome. Look east towards Holywell Hill with the mast on it. Southward to your right you will see gorse bushes on Greenan Hill. From there it is about ten meters to the north.
    I found yesterday a couple of more loose stones not far away from the spot, following what looks like the middle bank, going northwards.
    The tumulus itself was most likely late Neolithic or early Bronze Age. As it was found in the 1830’s by the Ordnance Survey, the tumulus was empty and as a result was sadly neither measured nor further investigated.

  3. I might actually take a run up there tomorrow as I have a Spanish friend arriving who’s never had the pleasure of seeing the beauty of Donegal, despite living in Ireland for 8yrs! I’ll copy this info and take it with me. Many thanks 🙂 Ireland is so steeped in history and we don’t extend the resources to highlight and publicise so much of it. I’m grateful for those who have been behind the proposition of producing a tourist info leaflet for this magnificent ancient site and ringfort and have it recognised on the Heritage Ireland website. If this was the USA, so much money would be invested into it to highlight and promote it. In Ireland we have fascinating ancient structures on our doorstep and they sit undeveloped, unpromoted and left to the elements. My Madeiran friend described Ireland as “wild and untouched”, but so it seems are a lot of the amazing pieces of our ancient history from our ancestors. Without making a fuss about such structures, the history of these things will be lost over time, which is something we shouldn’t allow to happen. Possibly one of the best ways to educate is to start with kids – school trips etc, so they can pass on this rich history and information to their kids, etc.

  4. Hallo Chris,

    Many thanks. And looking out the window you will have a glorious time, if you should go to Grianan in the next few days before the rain returns. Perhaps the best way to enjoy it, is to take your time with that hill. Walk about everywhere and as much as you can. Explore, it has always rewarded me. Sit on the walls of the monument, bring a picknick and on a day like this, you might find that you are not the only one.
    Nearly two years ago I became a member of our local heritage group, consisting of wonderful and good people, all working on promoting and as such protecting our heritage. The first few projects are getting off the ground now and it is great to see. The sheer amount of history in such relative small space is mind boggling. Unfortunately, so is the amount of heritage and history already lost.
    I leave you a couple of links where you can find out about walks and talks and hopefully soon the the timetable for our heritage weekend from 26th – 29th May.
    And if you are in Buncrana, there is a little shop on the Main Street, called The Jewel Casket, with Inishowen products and Inishowen products only.

    With all the best wishes,

  5. Great stuff Bettina. My project is still ongoing and translation of most of the MS now done. With a bit of luck Ailech will soon regain it’s rightful place in Irelands Heritage.

  6. Dane, what MS are you translating? It sounds intriguing. Have a look at the Annals of Clonmacnoise and Tigernach at archive.org (can send link). They both have the same entry, stating that if you get drowned in the river Bann, you drown at the border of Inishowen (Aileach) and that this territory stretches as far as Asseroe (Ballyshannon). Inishowen seems to be the last remainder of this once powerful kingdom.

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