Thursday, October 7, 2010

Grianan of Aileach

The Grianan of Aileach is a hilltop fortress 6 miles west of Derry.  Not too easy to find, however.  The principle interest of mine was to see what is known locally as Burt Chapel, which is at the base of the hill along the main road, and offered the only landmark to the location of the Grianan.  The architect of the chapel had based his design on the Grianan, where the circular megalithic paradigm of Newgrange again takes its form.  The hilltop offers a magnificent panorama of the surrounding countryside, and has obvious strategic advantages as an observation post.  The structure itself could not be taken by surprise, and offered both a sheltered defense from the enemy and nature.  The interior of the fort was tiered and offered an amphitheater kind of effect, almost as if the soldiers who manned it used it is an arena for gladiatorial games.  Another outstanding example of the skill of Irish masonry.

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