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At this spot in the year 1311, Dermot, the “tower-like hero” of the O’Briens, was inaugurated as their chieftain. With the other leaders of the clan assembled around him, his bard commemorated the event:

"Let us give the title of King,
(Which will be of much fame
To the land which has chosen him)
To the valorous warrior
The son of the fair-formed Donogh
Of the sealed secrets
Generous heir of generous Blood."

The inaugural mound of the Kings of the Dal gCais, including Brian Boru, later the first High King of Ireland. The mound is in the centre of a large, natural amphitheatre, and is reputed to be the burial place of Adhar, brother of Aengus of Dun Aengus (on the Aran Islands).

While all commentators agree that Magh Adhair (also known as “Moyare Park”) was the inauguration site for the Dál gCais (Dalcassian) Kings of Thomond, including the illustrious Brian Ború, there is no consensus about what the site may have held in prehistoric times. Because the complex structure includes a cairn-like feature, some writers think there may be a kernel of truth to the medieval texts that describe it as the burial place of Adair the Firbolg, a brother of the legendary architect of Dun Aengus in the Aran Islands. The name “Magh Adhair,” in fact, may be translated as “Adair’s Plain.” Can it be possible that somehow a memory of a first-century warrior’s grave so impressed itself upon the predecessors of the Dalcassians that they enshrined its sanctity for the inauguration of their own princes from the 5th to the 16th century?

Within the enclosure to the north of the mound is a bullaun (basin) stone made of a purple conglomerate, likely brought to this spot from another location. This may be seen in th pictures above. Some have suggested that the bullaun played a role in the inauguration ritual; with the man who would be king washing himself with the sacred water of its basin, and using as a symbolic soap the red stone fixed in the rock.

Unfortunately, as may be noted by the sketch in the gallery above, part of the outermost wall of Cahercalla had been lost before Westropp’s visit. In 1892 the antiquarian was informed by the tenant that his grandfather was the one working to demolish the structure, but he…

…was suddenly taken ill, and, fancying he had been ‘struck’ by the fairy inmates of the fort, desisted from his work of destruction; this fortunately saved the caher, and beyond the removal of a small late enclosure in the central ring, no harm has since been done.

- Extract from Voices from the Dawn -



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