The Westmeath Barrow Survey

Barrows are prehistoric burial sites, typically defined by a circular ditch surrounding a mound and/or a bank. They date from the Bronze Age (c.2,5000 -700 BC) through to the Iron Age (c.700 BC – AD 400) (i.e. c. 4,500 – 1,500 years ago). County Westmeath has one of the largest concentrations of barrows in Ireland with some fine examples at Frewyn hill (near Lough owel), Coolvuck (near Athlone),  Slanemore and the hill of Usnagh.  A county-wide archaeological survey of these barrows was undertaken during 2011-2015, funded by Westmeath County Council through the Heritage Forum.

The survey was carried out by Dr David McGuinness and the late Professor Michael Herity M.R.I.A, with assistance from Peter Wallace, Seamus O’Brien, David and Angela Clarke and the late Tommy Cassidy. The results of the survey have significantly added to our knowledge about barrows in Westmeath, with the discovery of several new examples and re-classification of several others that had previously been thought to be ringforts.

The completed reports on the survey (in four parts) can be accessed below and are being made available for researchers in the local studies section of the County Library.