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Rathgall Hillfort facts for kids

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Coordinates: 52°48′08″N 6°39′47″W / 52.80222°N 6.66306°W / 52.80222; -6.66306

Quick facts for kids
Rathgall Hill Fort
Rath Geal
Aerial view of the fort
Location County Wicklow, Province of Leinster
Type Multivallate hill fort
Width 15 metres
Area 7.5ha (18 acres)
Founded 1200-900BC
Periods Bronze Age
Site notes
Excavation dates 1969
Condition Partially preserved
Ownership Public
Public access Yes

Rathgall, Rath Geal (the white or bright fort), or Ring of the Rath is a large multivallate hill fort near the town of Shillelagh. Dating from the Bronze Age, it consists of three roughly concentric stone ramparts with a fourth masonry wall dating from the Medieval period at its centre. Rathgall is a National Monument which is in state care.

Excavations led by Barry Raftery in the 1970s the site are only partial, but yielded numerous artefacts including ceramic vessels, pot sherds and glass beads, which point to the middle to late Bronze Age activity on the site. A number of gold items have been found at the site also, as well as a burial site linked with later use of the site. Evidence of metal working comes from casts for tools and weapons, with burials pointing to a ritual element to the site beyond its agricultural and domestic use.

There are numerous legends that are associated with the site including fairies and as a site of pilgrimage for childless couples.

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