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Cashel Connemara County Galway Ireland
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Cashel / Casla   ~   Carna
Forty miles west of Galway and 12 miles from Clifden, Cashel is a charming coastal village on the edge of the Gaeltacht.

There are breathtaking views from Cashel Hill's distinctive cleft shaped summit over island-dotted seascape, inland lakes and mountains, with unspoiled, wild terrain and dispersed rural dwellings.

Cashel Bay near Carna Connemara County Galway Ireland
Local employment is largely dependent on tourism but traditional livelihoods still abound, such as seaweed harvesting, hill farming, turf cutting, and breeding of Connemara ponies.

The name of the townland and village of Cashel or An Caiseal derives from the ancient cashel or 'fort' in the graveyard north of the Church of St. James, in the area known as High Cashel or Caiseal Ard. This is a roughly circular bank of earth about 30 yards in diameter, having a ditch on the outside and the traces of rectangular buildings in the interior. Since it has long been used as a burial ground and there is a famous holy well, Tobar Chonaill, close by, it is likely that this was an early Christian religious settlement.

The track running by the graveyard represents the old road from the west, which kept a hundred feet or so higher around Erris Beg and Cashel Hill than the present coast-hugging road.

The most important antiquity on Cashel Hill is a mile west of the graveyard, about eight hundred yards up the hill from Sunset Cottage, and is known locally as Altoir or Altoir Ula (an ula is a tomb or penitential station) and said to be a Mass Rock. It looks like a low hut built out of a few massive and irregular stone slabs, and whether or not Mass was ever read there in Penal times it is in fact a megalithic tomb dating from the end of the Stone Age or beginning of the Bronze Age, about 3500-4000 years ago. This type of tomb is known as a wedge-shaped gallery grave, and in this case the narrowing of its chamber towards the rear or eastern end is very striking when seen from higher up the hill. The cap-stone forming its roof is about five feet square and sixteen inches thick, and rests on smaller slabs set edgeways in the ground to form the sides; outside these slabs and parallel with them are other slabs, so that the side walls are doubled. One of these outer slabs, five feet high, stands forward of the main chamber and represents the side of a sort of portico at the front of the tomb. Originally the whole construction would have been covered by a cairn, traces of which can be seen around it. This is the only known megalithic tomb in the South Connemara area.

Cashel Bay near Carna Connemara Cashel Bay
Lying at the head of the beautiful Cashel Bay the townland derives its name from the ringfort or cashel which surrounds the present day graveyard. Cashel Hill stands majestic at the top of the bay. It is worth taking a walk up this hill. From the summit one can behold some of the most breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
There is also a megalithic tomb. Hundreds of lakes lie amid the bogs, the Twelve Bens and Maamturks to the north and the sandy coves and glistening seaweed of the waters of Bertraghboy Bay.


Towns & Localities in County Galway

 Aran Islands | Athenry | Ballinasloe | Ballygar | Barna | Carna | Carraroe | Claregalway | Clarinbridge | Clifden | Clonbur | Corofin
Connemara | Corrandulla | Dunmore | Galway City | Glenamaddy | Gort | Headford | Kinvara | Leenane | Loughrea | Milltown | Monivea
 Mountbellew | Moycullen | Oranmore | Oughterard | Portumna | Renvyle | Salthill | Spiddal | Tuam | Turloughmore | Williamstown

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