Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2011

Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Douglas Bamforth


To explore the role of the Caherconnell Cashel in the Burren, this thesis focuses particularly upon the possibility of ferrous and non-ferrous metal production at the site. Using data from excavations dating back to 2007, this thesis looks at the main cashel, or ringfort, at the site. Caherconnell, a site much larger in size than the standard ringfort, is situated at the junction of three major zones of concentration in the Burren – the main route into the Burren, the religious route way used between AD 800 and 1160 (the Early Medieval Period), and the area of fertile farmland in the Burren. The production of metal at Caherconnell is clearly evidenced by the amount of high status artifacts found at the site and, of course, the clear evidence of metal production found within the site walls. Bronze and iron slag, hammer stones, a burnishing stone, and a stone mould used for pouring bronze have all been recovering during excavations of the main cashel. There has not been extensive publication on the role of Caherconnell in the region, nor has there been extensive excavation of other ringforts in the area. Caherconnell, however, is certainly an important site in the region. Not only is it far larger than the average ringfort, it was occupied by a subsidiary branch of one of the most powerful families in the region, the O’Lochlainns. The site also had a surplus of wealth due to its production of ferrous and non-ferrous metal, and it is this part of Caherconnell’s history I have focused on.