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Crannog's in Ireland

The term Crannog refers to small islands often artificial, remains of them can be found on many of Ireland's lakes, the name is derived from the old Irish 'crannóc' from crann, tree. These islands in most cases were fortified and lived on by people as recently as the late 17th century, some may have been constructed on wooden poles inserted in the lake bed, understandably none of these have survived. Many good examples of crannogs are to be found around Ireland. The illustration on the right shows the crannog in the lake at Loughbrickland County Down, this was inhabited by the Maginneses of Iveagh until they built a castle on the shore.

Crannogs have been used by man probably as far back as 4,000 BC; evidence from Scotland proves they were in use by 3,200 BC. They are usually round or oval in shape and varied enormously in size. Often they were approached by a causeway from the mainland; it is probably fair to assume that the entrance would have been protected by some form of gate house. The crannog afforded protection not only from unfriendly neighbours but wild animals also.Typical Crannog.

There are a few reconstructed Irish Crannogs around Ireland one is located 10 km east of Quin, County Clare, adjacent to 16th century Craggaunowen Castle, another Irish Crannog is scheduled to be built at Castle Espie wetlands bird sanctuary.

The crannog may have had one or several huts on it depending on its size; County Cavan has a particularly high density of crannog's. Crannog's are not confined to Ireland many are to be found in Scotland especially in the western isle, throughout the world man utilised the crannog or lake dwelling to protect himself, his family and livestock from potential enemies.

In John Speed's map of Ulster 1610 he shows thirteen crannogs, he doesn't show the one at Fair Head, so it is safe to assume there were perhaps considerably more than thirteen.