Site: Knockmahon

Name:Knockmahon CISP No:KNMAH
Place:Kilbarrymeadon Grid Ref:X 442 985 (IR)   Map
Parish:Decies without Drum Stones:2
County:Waterford (Port Láirge) , Ireland Saint(s):none
Site Type:settlement

Site Notes

Manning/1989, 7, identifies the site as a fort `on a small promontory with cliffs rising some fifty feet above sea level immediately to the east of a small cove with a shingle beach marked Stage Cove on the 6" map. Across the neck of the headland the remains of a bank and ditch can be seen. Continuing out from the headland and cut off from it and from each other by narrow channels are two tiny grass-topped islands or stacks marked as Gully's Island on the map. These probably formed part of the interior of the fort originally but have been separated from it by the sea.

At a point where the headland measures 35m across it is defended by a single bank and ditch. These have been badly damaged by cultivation and survive best at each end under and outside the cliff-top field fence. In its damaged state the ditch appears to be some 8m wide and at the bank, which is c. 6m wide, rises 1.20m above the bottom of the ditch. No entrance is at present discernible. The area within the bank is at present only 20m long but if the two islands were once part of the interior it would have measured at least 90m.

The cliffs of the Waterford coast present many suitable locations for promontory forts and known examples have been published by Westropp as part of his pioneering and as yet unsurpassed study of this monument type in Ireland. The Knockmahon fort with its single bank and ditch would conform to Westropp's type (a). It is overlooked by gradually rising ground to the north and by higher cliffs to the east so that its position commanding Stage Cove, where boats could be beached, may have been the main reason for locating the fort here. It should also be noted that the immediate surrounding area has rich copper ore deposits which were mined in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and probably earlier because the exposed veins of ore in the cliffs would have been easy to detect and mine'.