'Claidh Dubh', Castleblagh/Ballydague
Linear earthwork
SMR 034:055
A stretch of the Claidh Dubh linear earthwork was surveyed and excavated in North Co. Cork as part of the Discovery Programme, Ballyhoura Hills Project. The work took place during a three-week period in August. The monument is recorded on the Ordnance Survey 6" maps and figures prominently in local legend. Despite this no portion of the site had previously been excavated. The purpose of the current work was to investigate the make-up of the earthwork and to obtain dating evidence.

The site chosen for study is in the Nagles Mountains where the earthwork forms part of a 14-mile stretch of the Claidh Dubh which extends across the Blackwater Valley and into the Ballyhoura Hills to the north. An 800m-stretch of the Claidh Dubh was surveyed in detail and two sections were excavated through the bank and associated features.

The Claidh Dubh at this point forms part of the townland boundary between Castleblagh and Ballydague and is made up of an earthen bank c. 1.5m high constructed alongside a partly silted-up stream bed to the west. A shallow ditch was recorded to the east and further east again were the remains of a well-constructed roadway. There was evidence for a palisade off the crest of the bank on the east side.

No direct dating evidence was recorded; however samples of peat were taken from directly above the roadway and submitted for radiocarbon dating. These indicated the onset of peat growth above the roadway at c. 100AD.
Martin Doody, Discovery Programme, 13-15 Lr Hatch St., Dublin 2.

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