Grianan of Aileach
Sterling silver lapel pin, (15mm wide). It is a miniture replica of the ancient hillfort located in Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland and is packaged in a branded Faller box containing our Grianán of Aileach descriptive leaflet.
Grianán of Aileach
GRIANÁN OF AILEACH is located at the summit of Greenan Mountain in Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland. Looking out over Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle the fort provides breathtaking panoramic views of counties Donegal, Derry and Tyrone.
In Irish folklore, the ringfort is said to have been built around the grave of Aedh, son of the Dagda, a god and the celebrated king of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Surrounded by three concentric ramparts dating from the late Bronze or Iron Age enclosing an area of about 5 acres, this site would have held very high and possibly unique status. Its ancient origin is emphasised by the presence of a neolithic burial mound between the second and third rampart. Grianán of Aileach was marked as a royal residence on Ptolemy of Alexandria’s 2nd century map of the world. From pagan to early Christian times it would have served as a place of festival and ritual inauguration, like Tara in County Meath. Ancient legends attributed healing properties to the water of a well on the site. The well was dedicated to St Patrick after his visit there in the 5th Century and is still known today as ‘St. Patrick’s Well’
The existing fort itself was probably built in the early Christian era. From 789 it was the royal seat for the northern Ui Néill dynasty, those kingdom stretched from Northern Sligo to the Shores of Lough Neagh. It was abandoned in 1101 after its partial destruction by Murtagh O’Brien, king of Munster, who is said to have ordered each of his soldiers to take away a stone from the fort as they left, in retaliation for the Ui Neill’s sacking of his royal seat at Kincora.
George Petrie who first surveyed the Grianán of Aileach in the 1830’s, described the ruins as a circular dry stone wall enclosing an area of 23.6m (77ft) in diameter. Standing 1.8m (5ft 11in) high, the wall varied from 4.6m (15ft) to 3.5m (11ft) in breadth.