Some landscapes in Ireland are more weighted with the past than others, but for a truly monumental depth of history, there are few that can compare to the Hill of Faughart in County Louth. The Hill of Faughart is part of a prominent drumlin ridge, with an extensive vista that overlooks the town of Dundalk and Dundalk Bay. Historically, the Hill of Faughart had a key role in commanding a number of passes through the Fews Mountains into South Armagh, including the famed Gap of the North that featured so prominently in the epic Táin Bó Cúailnge. With its strategic dominance over the surrounding landscape, it is no wonder that it became a place of significance for centuries. This significance can be seen in the variety of archaeological monuments on the hill, and in its role as a setting for key events in Irish history.
Aerial photography has revealed cropmarks that show that the central complex on the hill is surrounded by large circular enclosures. This is typical of early medieval monastic sites, such as Clonmacnoise. Though these enclosures have not yet been excavated or radiocarbon dated, they may represent the remains of an earlier Bronze or Iron Age hillfort, such as the one that surrounds the Grianán of Aileach in Donegal.
This article details some of the key features that you can find on the Hill of Faughart, along with some of the many stories that the hill bore witness to.
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