A crannog, reconstructed in its typical
lake-setting with round-houses and a gate-tower
are lake or lakeside settlements which were inhabited from the Mesolithic
to the Early Medieval period. The name is derived from the Irish word crann,
meaning a tree. Originally the term may have been applied to the timber
palisades which surrounded such sites, the timber buildings within them,
or the timber foundations on which they were erected. The same name is used in
Scotland, where similar sites occur.
In prehistoric times, platforms were erected at lake edges,
or in shallow water or marshy ground. These appear to have been associated
with hunting and fishing or with industrial pursuits, rather than with long-term
habitation. True crannogs, that is, artificial islands containing a dwelling
and surrounded by one or more palisades, were being constructed in the Early
Medieval period and these may be regarded as the wetlands' equivalent of
the contemporary ring forts. Crannogs may have developed partly from a habit of living on
small natural islands, either as a means of exploiting the fish and wild
fowl of lakes or for providing security in times of danger. Many hundreds are known in Ireland, mainly W
and NW of the central plain.
Near Kilmurry, about 16km (10 mi) from Ennis, lies Craggaunowen,
a full-scale reconstruction of a crannog in its typical lake-setting. Inside
the crannog are several round-houses, while a gate-tower
stands over the entrance.
connected with reconstruction projects can produce valuable insights into
everyday life in prehistoric environments.