Cashel at the Ecclesiastical Site at Farburren

Close to the middle of the ecclesiastical site at Farburren is a circular enclosure made of stone, which is known as a cashel. A cashel is like a ringfort except that it is made of stone, and it is a type of dwelling used in the Early Middle Ages. At that time, settlers used the building materials that were available in their locality—namely soil and stones to build mounds. The walls of this cashel have not completely survived, especially since the cashel predates monastic times. A small hut is present in the south by south-west portion of the enclosure. Cashels are quite common in the mid-west, and less common along the west coast. Ditches rarely enclose stone cashels, such as this one—mainly because the terrain is often rocky, and digging a ditch in rocky soil is not easy. The word cashel is derived from the Latin word castellum, which means fort. There are literally thousands of cashels that exist today, however only about two hundred have been excavated (Michigan State University, 2009). There is no clear or distinct entryway to this cashel, although it likely would have been to the east, although there is no surviving remains of the wall. (Joyce, 1999, p 90).


1.     Joyce, B. (1999). ‘Early Ecclesiastical Site at Farburren, Parish of Oughaval, Co. Mayo.’ Cathair na Mart: Journal of the Westport Historical Society. Journal 19. p 90.

2.   Michigan State University, Study Abroad Programme. (2009). Cashel. Internal Report: Folder 4, Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail—Clogher Environmental Group Ltd. Unpublished.