Places of Interest
The Caher River
separates the sandy beach to the south from the rocky beach to the
north. The area to the north of the river’s mouth is known as
the Rabbit Warren and is marked as such on the Robinson map. The Caher
is the only Burren river to run along the surface from its source
to the sea.
Khyber Pass is a name given to the western entrance to
the Caher Valley. It may have been so named by a military man who
had seen service in India with the British Army.
The Caher Valley
and Caher River probably take their names from the fact that there
are so many ring forts or cahers in the immediate vicinity. St. Patrick’s
Church lies at the entrance to the valley. Built in 1870, it is a
single cell building with a small sacristy. Further up the valley,
past the bridge, is a fulacht fiadh or cooking place to the
south of the road. On the northern side, further on and 100 yards
uphill, is a small crude building, the penal chapel of Fermoyle. Within
it are a bullaun stone and an altar slab. Above this is the kileen
or children’s burial ground known as Cillin Formoyle. Death
is no stranger to these grey slopes. The Great Hunger wiped out the
village of Caherbannagh and only the foundations and hearths are left
as mute testimonials to this “deserted village”. Ring
forts abound in this valley which is called after them. The most important
ones are Caherbannagh, or Cathair Bheannach, close to the
deserted village; Cathair Dhoire na bhFathach; and Cathair
an Aird Rois, Caheranardurrish, with its ruined chapel and shebeen,
overlooking both the Caher and the Feenagh/Rathborney valleys. This
last named fort which might translate as the fort of the high door
is well worth a visit. The long rectangular building with the double-door
lintel must have been a busy spot when people sought the spirit of
fell into disuse when St. Patrick’s Church was built at the
western end of the valley in 1870. The walls are now only seven feet
high and the Gothic windows have been filled in. Frost explains how
Formoyle might be a reference to a rocky meeting place or possibly
an assembly. Either could be correct. It was here in 1317 that O’Brien
assembled his forces before marching on Corcomroe Abbey. Within the
ruined church is a bullaun stone. The wells of Tobar Bhrain
and Tobar Lonain are nearby.
National School opposite the beach and recreation area was built
in 1969 and the former school, built in 1887, is now a private house.
Killonaghan Church, the Church of
St Onchu, the son of Blathmac, is reputedly an eleventh century building.
The ruins contain some fine masonry of large coursed stones. The window
is its finest feature; some would say its only feature.
Killonaghan Church Ruin
the village proper, is actually Craggagh. The Post Office, shop and
bar are the commercial centre of this rambling, scattered community.
Here also is a memorial to Garda Thomas Dowling, shot in error during
an I.R.A. ambush in 1925. The Rural Resource Organisation houses have
added considerably to the population of Craggagh/Fanore since they
were built some years ago. Further down the road is the townland of
Derreen East and beyond that is a small and rarely used quay.
Faunarooska Castle had been described
until recently as a ruined cylindrical tower house similar to, but
more crudely built than, Doonagore. However, its collapse in 1985
has left even less of it in existence. It was not mentioned in the
1580 list of castles within the county and the first mention of it,
in 1641, referred to Fernandus MacFelem as its owner. It was later
granted to James Aylmer and Henry Ivers.
- The Ring Forts of Fanore are mainly
to the east of the coast road between St. Patrick’s Church and
the ruins of St. Columba’s at Crumlin. Most of them are high
up on the hills and can be reached from either the coast road or the
green road stretching from Cathair Bheag to Formoyle Chapel. The most
important of them are, from north to south: Cathair Rois; Cathair
Bhaile Ui Eidhne or Caher Balliny; the ring forts of Derreen
East and Derreen West; not forgetting Lios Cunaire and Cathair