Mooghaun hillfort ( or Moghane, pronounced Moh hawn) is a trivallate (circular within circular) hillfort, located close to Shannon town/airport.
It is the largest hillfort in Ireland, which is effectively a prehistoric walled village.
It is over 3000 years old, and it adjoins the grounds of Dromoland castle.
There are panoramic views of the Shannon river and estuary, and to the east, over the countryside - right back to Shannon.
There is a a timber tower from which you can enjoy these views.
There is an interesting network of signage throughout the hill fort that give fascinating details.
There is fantastic countryside and a renovated tower keep, and wonderful walking routes. The forest area is stunning during the Autumn.
In more recent centuries the centre round fort was used as a picnic location for the occupants of Dromoland castle.
Back in 1854 the greatest European gold (all belonging to the latter period of the Bronze age) find was unearthed here during the building the railway line from Limerick to Ennis.
Immediately after the find, many of the objects were melted down and the gold was sold for it's material value. Casts were made of some of the treasure and these have been preserved in the Royal Irish Academy.
The lodges built in the area by the O'Briens are unusual in the setting, and the story goes that the architects who planned these houses mixed up the plans with another project that was set to be built in south Africa.
In the middle of the 20th century there was an active timber mill here, and there has always been a good supply of game.
The direct descendants still live in this area, but have a modest freehold.
In the immediate area is the historical Ardsolus (ardsollus.."Ath sollas" or "Ath Solas", the ford of light or the mound of light) area, named so as the monks/friars of Quin Abbey, who (in medieval times) each evening the walked to its river bank and lit a beacon for the guidance of travellers.
In the late 1700s festivals and law courts were held frequently.
The horse races of Ardsolus were run on a hill overlooking Quin village, where there is one of many ancient standing stones in the area. Ardsolus bridge was a toll bridge. Right beside the bridge is the malthouse with a large inscribed stone with the words "entertainment for man and horse".
There is another standing stone here.
At Shannon Town roundabout take the 3rd exit onto the N19.
Follow the dual carrageway as far as the Dromoland Interchange.
Branch left, then at Dromoland West roundabout take the 3rd exit.
At Dromoland East roundabout take the 2nd exit onto the R458 following signs for Dromoland castle, pass gates of Dromoland and continue for approx one mile.
You will see a sign post to the left for Mooghaun hill fort.
Continue along this road until you come to the Mooghaun car park.
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