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     ANCIENT MONUMENTS OF  
                  BUTTEVANT 
       It would appear that there are 124 ancient monuments in the parish of Buttevant, all dating from pre-1700. Here is a detailed piece on the monuments: 
  
Standing Stones: 
              Four are recorded, in the townlands of Boherascrub East, Bregoge, Currymount and Velvetstown. They are probably the oldest of the ancient monuments ofButtevant. 
       Standing stones are upright stones, usually set in the open. At present, they are used as rubbing stones for cattle. They Interfere with mechanical tillage, and it is probable that many of them have been removed. They may be made of local 
limestone, but there is a tendency for exotic stones to be used. In Buttevant, large blocks of Old Red Sandstone, ice- rafted from the Ballyhoura Mountains, may be expected to have used as standing stones; Galway granite occurs in small stones, but Is unlikely to be so shaped as to be erected into a standing stone. 
       In many cases, there are ogham writing marks incised along the edges of the standing stones. There are no records of such writings on the four standing stones now in Buttevant parish. Ogham writings may be from the few centuries after A.D. and would be incised on stones which may have been standing for over 1,000 years. Or, of course, some ogham recorded event may have justified the erection of a late standing stone, set up in, say, 300 A.D., and not in 1,300 B.C. And equally so, a good farmer in 1750 A.D. might erect a scratching stone for his herd, and such now passes for an ancient standing stone. 
       The four standing stones n Buttevant parish tend to be in the vicinity of Kilmacklenine (except the Velvetstown standing stone). This was a major centre during the late Neolithic, Copper and Early Bronze times. There are rings of standing stones there, an advance on the single standing stones found in Buttevant parish. 
  
Fulachta Fiadhs: 
       Fourteen are recorded, with 3 in Ardaprior and six in Templemary; the remaining five are in the townlands of Ballyvorisheen, Curraglass, Currymount, Dreenagh West and Velvetstown. Fulachta Fladh means "deer roast", and they are 
sometimes called fulachta fiann, or "cooking places of the Fianna". 
       A Fulachta Fiadh is a site where meat (mainly venison) and fish (mainly salmon) were cooked, ether by roasting or by 
boiling. They have a number of characteristic features, but many such sites will have been dissipated and lost due mainly to ploughing. They are very numerous In the south of Ireland, located mainly in damp. low-lying areas near a stream. Boiling meat was the main function, and basically consisted of a wooden trough which was Inserted into a pit dug in the ground. The trough was filled with water which was brought to the boll, and kept boiling, by dropping in heated or red-hot stones. These stones were heated at a nearby hearth, using wood for burning. The wooden trough may have been lined with leather, to make It leak-proof. Parboiled meat may have been roasted at the hearth. They were not permanent settlements, but regular camping sites during the hunting season. 
       Heaps of burnt stones are now the main mark of a Fulachta Fiadh. Sandstones burnt better, for they do not flake or disintegrate into lime when burnt. The stones are cobbles, not too large, not too small. Ploughing may have scattered them over a wide area, but such burnt stones are readily Identified. The wooden trough may be so deeply buried as to be preserved from anything but deep ploughing or drainage operations. 
       There are no descriptions of any of the fourteen fulachta fiadhs found in Buttevant parish. 
Ring-Forts: 
       Sixty-seven Ring-Forts are recorded from Buttevant parish. They are far and away the most numerous type of the ancient monuments of Buttevant parish. If they were all occupied at the same time. It would mean that the average farm size was about 220 acres, for the total area of the parish is 14800 acres. They have been much studied, and even early studies, as Westropp (1901) can still be read with deep interest. 
        They were erected over a long period of time Possibly over 1,500 years. The earliest may have been built In 500 B C . the last of them in 1,000 A.D. It Is estimated that some 30 000 to 40.000 have been erected in Ireland; since it is not difficult to remove such earth ring-forts made of earth, it is possible that in the past. as is happening now in the present many have been removed. The dread and respect with which they were held at times in the past makes their destruction long age as unlikely. Over the whole 17 million acres of the Republic, 40,000 ring-forts would represent a denisty of one per 425 acres; density in Buttevant is therefore double the density over Ireland as a whole. 
         These ring-forts may be called raths, duns or liosses where constructed entirely or mainly of piled-up earth. Where 
 they are stone, or mainly of stone, they are called caiseal cathair o daingean. All those in Buttevant are completely of 
 Earth. Though at present grouped under the general term "ring fort" they were seldom used as forts or were places of 
 military importance. They were essentially farmsteads, where a farmer and his family, their servants and slaves, lived, and 
 into which at night or in winter, some or all of the animals were herded. The term "rath" refers to, or places emphasis on. 
 the surrounding bank and ditch. The term "dun" may indicate a larger structure, and one of some military importance; it 
 could be the residence of the chieftain or leader of the area. 
          It would seem that the larger ring forts, usually constructed on a hill-tip, are much more of military significance. And there may have lived the local chieftain. It is thought that such duns would be able to resist a surprise raid or attack for long enough for his people, living in the raths and liosses within the vicinity of the attack to mass their men and come to the aid of the attacked dun. On the other hand, spacing of the ring forts may have been based on the size of an economic farm holding, averaging 220 acres In the good lands of Buttevant, and say 450 acres for Ireland as a whole. 
  
Souterrains: 
       There are only four souterrains recorded from Buttevant parish, in the townlands of Ballyvorisheen, Dreehagh West, Grange East and Rathclare. Three are recorded by the archeologlcal survey. 
       The souterrains are closely connected with the ring forts, but also with the hill forts, none of which occur in Buttevant parish. The souterrains are usually under a rath, lios or dun, and also under their stone-built equivalent, the caiseal or cathair. So, they were constructed from 500 B.C. onwards, and seen to be closely allied with the introduction of iron and then steel, and the beginnings of La Tene culure in Ireland. 
       Most of these souterrains are simple structures consisting of one or more parallel-sided trenches excavated some 3 to 4 feet underground, lined with stone and roofed with stone flags covered with caly, so that they were concealed. Entrance was through small, narrow openings, and similar small openings allowed a person to crawl or wriggle from one larger portion of the souterrain to another. 
       Their use is not quite certain. They could be used to store food. Their equitable low temperatures may have enabled milk to be held without souring. Nuts, grain and similar foods could be stored in them at harvest-time. Or, they could have been hiding places for women and children when a rath, lios or dun was attacked. If the raiders had but a few minutes to ransack the buildings before reinforcements arrived and forced the raiders to flee, then short-term concealment could save wives and children from death, rape or being carried off as slaves or hostages.