Cultural Heritage

What does the term 'Cultural heritage' mean? In this case it means a shared bond, a sense of belonging to a community. That sense of belonging to the Tara Hill community has been shared for thousands of years, scattered throughout the landscape there is evidence of our cultural ancestors. This evidence includes, the ancient cairn on the summit, standing stones, hut sites, ringforts, holy wells, famine cottages, a sweathouse, a thatched cottage and the graveyard at Kilcavan. It is our duty as a community to protect our cultural heritage for future generations.

The Cairn on the Summit


Hut sites

At least two hut sites have been identified on Tara Hill. These huts were built throughout Ireland from the mesolithic period. Without excavation it is impossible to date them, as they are multi-period sites. Pictured below are the remains of one of the hut sites on Tara Hill, it is defined by the foundation of a wall spread. It may have been a sheepfold.


reconstructed hutsite

Two types of reconstructed mesolithic huts at Wexford Heritage Park

hutsite loch Currane

Early Christian drystone hut on Lough Currane, Co Kerry, modified for use as a sheepfold


Standing Stones

standing stone

St Winifreds Well

winefreds spout


Fulacht Fia and Ringforts are the most common types of field monument found in Ireland. Over 45,000 thousand ringforts have been recorded, well over four hundred of those were recorded in County Wexford. Sadly by the 1980s over 70% of them were destroyed, more than double the destruction rate of most other counties. The vast majority of these defended farmsteads were built between 500AD and 1100AD. There are two types of ringforts, those made from stone, mainly found in the West of Ireland, where stone is found in abundance, these are known as Cashels or Cahers, and those defined by an earthen bank with a wooden palisade, surrounded by a ditch, these are known as Raths.

heritage park ringfort

There are two raths present on the Tara Hill, both of these are situated on private land. One is in Kilcavan Upper townland and the second one is in Ballinacarrig. This second ringfort can be seen from the southside of the road, on Joseph Roches farmland. It was probably known locally as a 'Fairy Ring'. These fairy forts were thought to be a place where fairies and spirits would dwell, an entrance to the otherworld. Pictured above is the interior of a reconstucted Rath/Farmstead at Wexford Heritage Park, and below left, the exterior with it's wooden palisade. Pictured below right is a stone Ringfort/Cashel in County Kerry.

ringfort 2

Exterior showing palisade

Staigue ringfort 003

Staigue Cashel in Kerry

Thatched Cottage

bessie's cottage

Kilcavan Graveyard

One set of graves in particular catches the eye is the graves of the McDonald Brothers, Bryan, Patrick, and James, who were from nearby Clone in Castletown. All three brothers lost their lives during the rebellion of 1798. Patick was wounded at the Battle of Arklow but was later captured and hanged for being a rebel. Bryan had been part of the Castletown yeoman cavalry but both he and James were taken up and shot in reprisal by Crown Forces.

McDonald brothers graves