Knockdrum (Farrandau), Co. Cork
Location: About 1 km northwest of Castletownshend, on the left side of R 596.
It is signposted, though the sign may be difficult to see coming from Castletownshend.
Access is via a gated farm track, with space to park one vehicle off the road. The
farm track is fairly level and continues for quite some distance. It becomes a very
narrow path just before it terminates at the base of a beautifully constructed
stone stairway. The stairway is steep and continues almost to the top of the hillside.
A path leads the rest of the way up to the cashel.
Description: Knockdrum Cashel is a hill-top circular stone fort. The internal
diameter is about 22.5m N-S and 22.5m E-W. The cashel walls were repaired sometime
before 1860 and rise approx. 1.75m from the internal ground level.
Just at the right of the entrance (just inside the modern cattle gate) is a sentry
chamber in the 3 meter thick wall. In the center of the fort is the rectangular foundation
of a building with a souterrain in one corner. The souterrain is stone-lined at the start
and appears to be cut directly into the rock further in. The entrance to this souterain
is blocked by a locked iron gate. Discovered in 1875, it reportedly contains three
chambers, including one with a funnel-shaped "chimney" cut from rock and earth. The souterrain
was excavated by Somerville in 1930 and restored by the OPW. To the left inside the entrance
to the fort is a pillar stone, even in height to the cashel wall
and approx 15 centimeters deep. On the top of the N face is a deeply incised Greek cross
with equal vertical and horzontal arms with expanded terminals. This was originally found
elsewhere on the site and placed inside the fort for safety. Just to the NNW of the
internal rectangular foundation is a large slab with a number of shallow cup marks.
Outside the cashel wall and just to the left of the entrance is a larger flat boulder
supported by smaller rocks with numerous cupmarks, both shallow and deep.
It measures 1.6m by 1.36m and 13cm thick.
Comments: On a pleasant day, this is a spectacular place to visit. The walk along
the farm track is reasonably flat which is good because the 99 + or - steps up the hillside
require some energy. The path from the top of the stairs takes you to the cashel wall,
and turning to the left will lead you to the entrance. The view of the countryside is
absolutely beautiful from here. You can look down on the Three Fingers stone alignment roughly
to the North, a vast expanse of the sea and small islands lays just to the left of the
entrance. The journey back to the car takes you past the ruins of an old cottage that
has been posted as having been given planning permission as a home site. How this
would affect access to Knockdrum is unclear, but sadly it doesn't appear the site is visited
often by tourists.