INIS MEÁIN - Is Dún Crocbhúr an ancient crematorium?

INIS MEÁIN - Is Dún Crocbhúr an ancient crematorium?
The environs of Dún Crocbhur showing archeological evidence of various early settlement
By Feargal OP
 http://www.flickr.com/photos/feargal/
From the general layout of the structure it is difficult to suggest what purpose the Dún (fort) has. The name Dún implies that it had a military or defensive purpose but I find it hard to believe that an island, that is six miles square, mostly rock and in possession of two large forts and a third one that has been dismantled, could have sustained a population that would have needed such elaborate defences. Landing an army on Inis Meain would not be an easy feat either as the island is naturally defended by high cliffs and strong currents.

A POSSIBLE USE
There is one cell big enough for human habitation. I have marked this with the letter A.
There are two cairns marked B. Cairns generally marked burial sites but we must remember that the Celts practiced cremation. There is a thrid cairn due north of the fort's entrance making a triangle. That third cairn is still used as the site of the annual bonfire on Saint John's night.
There are two warrens of tiny chambers marked C. These rooms are too small for habitation but could have been storehouses.
The tiered wall provides a natural amphitheatre and the rows are visible at D.

If Dún Crocbhur was not a military fort it could have served as some early form of crematorium. People could have come from the mainland in order to cremate their dead. The biggest problem would be the lack of firewood. There are very few trees on the island now but it could have had a good selection of mountain ash in the past.

But if it is a burial site; the hut at A could have some priestly purpose, the cairns at B could have been the sites of pyres; the chambers at C could have been storehouses for the ashes of different families and the amphitheatre at D would have given all the tribe a view of the funeral rites.

There is a rectangular structure due north of the gate that also has standing stones and some sort of a stage set into the eastern wall. This could possibly be a smaller crematorium for less important people? 
This photo has notes. Move your mouse over the photo to see them.

Recent Entries

Celebrating Tim Robinson
By Richard MarshI've always loved maps.  I can't think about travelling or a new place without a map, not always…
Cottage
"The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. . . ."
Photo: Leonard DoyleExtract: JOHN JEREMIAH SULLIVAN New York Times Published: February 10, 2012 He was blind in one eye and…
Separated at Birth, the Burren and the Aran Islands
The Burren, a rocky wilderness in western Ireland, is a region of ancient magic and infinite strangeness The cliffs…
Stones of Aran, a NY Review of books "masterpiece"
Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (New York Review Books Classics) by Tim Robinson">Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage (New York Review Books…
Inis Meáin, through the peephole, 1973
Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, Ireland. 1973 from Brendan F. on Vimeo.A short film on life in Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) in…
Inis Meáin, Aran Islands, Ireland 1973
Aileen's is the perfect wave
LORNA SIGGINS, Marine Correspondent The Irish TimesIT IS a magnet for surfers, a nightmare for rescue agencies, and now it…
At last the west awakes to broadband
Dún Aonghasa on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands. The islands have already been covered by the National Broadband Scheme,…
Turning Green With Literacy...Why should we celebrate the Irish?
Op-Ed Contributor"Well, the heart's a wonder," says Pegeen Mike in John Millington Synge's comedy "The Playboy of the Western World."…
How Many "Greats" in Obama's Irish Grandfather?
President Barack Obama walks with Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., after a…
St. Patrick's Day With the Irish and the Jews
Above, Mick Maloney's new album recreates music from the nearly forgotten era of collaboration between Jewish and Irish songwriters in pre-World War…