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Aerial archaeology of standing buildings


The Anglo-Norman motte was erected in the late-12th/13th century and today it is a steep-sided conical mound approximately 46m wide (its platform top is 17m wide) and it is surrounded by an inner fosse, a broad outer bank and a second broad outer fosse. Gravel quarrying revealed that the motte was probably built over an earlier bronze age site.

Rath Mhór, "the big fort" was granted to Gerald Fitzgerald in 1185-9 by King John and by 1203 it had 96 burgages (85 contained seven acres and a frontage each and 11 were of a half-acre with frontage). Rathmore was on the frontier and in 1355-6 it needed defending by 5 men-at-arms with armoured horses, 12 well-armed hobelars, 40 archers and other footmen well-equipped to resist incursions by the O'Broin. It was burned by Rory Og O'More and again by the O'Byrnes in the 16th century and by the end of the century it was described as ‘waste’.

The earliest reference to the church is c.1270 and in 1318 it was granted of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. It’s dedication of the church to St. Columba is first mentioned in 1577 and by 1630 it was in ruins. Today’s Church of Ireland church, dedicated to St. Columcille, was built in 1766 over the original building.


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