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Drumanagh Promontory Fort.

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:43 pm
by Nerva
Salvete Omnes!

Over the Christmas break I had the opportunity to visit Drumanagh peninsula or as it has become known “Drumanagh Promontory Fort”. The purpose of this post is to show some pictures of the site. I’m not making an argument as to the origins of the features on the site, although I must admit I’d be delighted if they turned out to be Roman.

The peninsula is situated about two miles North East of Rush, very close to the small harbour of Loughshinny and is very accessible by car and foot. Of interest to me were the visible remains of a possible linear defence system consisting of a trench (Fossa) to the west of a mound (Agger) running North/South along the junction between the peninsula and the mainland. In the northern part of the system there appears to be a second fosse to the west or outside and running parallel to the main fosse.

In places the fosse is about a metre deep and 3m+ wide. The Agger is almost 2m high in places. I would estimate the overall length of the feature at about 200m, but that’s just a guess. Some of you may be aware of the controversy surrounding this site i.e. the first identified Roman settlement in Ireland. No significant excavations have yet taken place on the site but claims to the Roman origin of the site have been made by some well respected historical authorities. Here’s some interesting links which fill in the background…

Based on my observations I can say the following.

1. The fosse and agger are consistent with defence systems found at roman military sites in Britain, Wales and specifically Scotland and are very well preserved here. Of course they could equally be consistent with other Irish Iron Age sites. I say Iron Age but that is purely hypothetical based on the dating of the pottery and coin finds. The pottery and coins could be unrelated to the agger and fossa which throws the whole debate up in the air.

2. The normal Roman fort was constructed to a very specific design, a playing card shape with four gates. There is no evidence of such a construction here, single line of defence only. This however, needs to be considered in light of late 2nd and 3rd century Roman forts found in Scotland, where non-liner forts are common. Also Roman civil settlements in the Scotland and the North of England were sometimes fortified taking advantage of any natural features and are some are similar to what is visible at Drumanagh.

At the end of the day it’s impossible to infer the origins of such features based on what we see today. I do know a prominent museum curator who has seen finds from the site and confirms the presences of both civil and military Roman artefacts. Unfortunately this is not enough and the truth will only be revealed when the National Museum displays the finds and conducts significant exploration of the site.

Here’s a picture of the peninsula and it’s proximity to Lambay Island. Interesting to not a number of Roman burials have been found on Lambay.


Here’s a picture of peninsula itself. The remains of the fosse/agger are not clearly visible on the image so I highlighted them. Also, the linear features visible in this image are in fact modern pathways.


Here is a link to the rest of the images. As you will see some images are missing, this is because they were of even poorer quality than what’s displayed here - (Please forgive me for the very poor quality of the images. They were taken with my mobile phone camera in poor light.)

Valete Omnes!