January 3, 2012

The Caves of Keash - Co. Sligo

Caves of Keash 96 P1040050
Keshcorran hill is the location of 13 small caves at the foot of a steep limestone cliff, access via the R295 between Boyle and Ballymote. As with the Bricklieve mountains, this hill is of pre-glacial origin. The caves are small, but the portals are high enough to stand under. There is a large hilltop cairn situated on the summit at a height of 362m above sea level, making it the highest cairn in County Sligo - around 30m higher than Maeve's Grave on Knocknarea.
Some of the caves were explored in 1901 and again in 1929. Bones of reindeer, boar, wolf and arctic lemming were found, along with a large variety of birds, including rare or extinct species. Brown bear also occupied the caves for long periods.
Prehistoric man was not a frequent visitor, but from the 8th to the 11th centuries there were more signs of human presence in the caves, such as remains of fires, animal bones, shellfish debris, various implements and articles of personal adornment. The ridge top was the site of ritual gatherings at seasonal festivals such as Lughnasa, until the last century.

Photo: Lumix LX5