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Dunbeg Fort, a promontory fort below Mount Eagle, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland

A promontory fort is a defensive structure located above a steep cliff, often only connected to the mainland by a small neck of land, thus utilizing the topography to reduce the ramparts needed. Although their dating is problematic, most seem to date to the Iron Age. They are mainly found in Brittany, Ireland, the Orkney Islands, the Isle of Man, Devon and Cornwall. [1]

Entrance to Dunbeg Fort

Only a few Irish promontory forts have been excavated and most date to the Iron Age, though some, like Dunbeg (County Kerry) might have originated in the Bronze Age. Others, like Dalkey Island (County Dublin) contain imported Eastern Mediterranean pottery and have been reoccupied and changed in the early medieval period. Dunbeg contains an early medieval corbelled stone hut (clochan).

On the Isle of Man promontory forts are found particularly on the rocky slate headlands of the south. Four out of more than 20 have been excavated and several, especially in Santon, can be visited using the Raad ny Foillan coastal footpath. All have a rampart on their vulnerable landward side, and excavations at Cronk ny Merriu have shown that access to the fort was via a strongly built gate.

The Scandinavians who arrived in Mann in the eighth and ninth centuries AD sometimes re-used these Iron Age promontory forts, often obliterating the old domestic quarters with their characteristic rectangular houses; the fine example at Cronk ny Merriu has been used as the basis of the reconstruction in the House of Manannan museum in Peel.

The Rumps in North Cornwall

Promontory forts can be found all along the coast of Penwith. Maen Castle, near to Land’s End is one of the oldest, having been dated to around 500 BC. They are also found in other districts, e.g. The Rumps near Padstow and Dodman Point In Devon, The Aran Islands, Burgh Island and Bolt Tail [2] are located on the south coast and Embury Beacon and Hillsborough on the north coast. The famous site at Tintagel may be a rare example of promontory fort whose occupation continued into the post Roman and from there into later periods. [3]

Caesar’s de Bello Gallico describes the Veneti in southern Armorica – a powerful sea-faring people allied with the southern British during the war of 56 BC – as living in clifftop oppida. Their capital was Darioritum on the Morbihan bay, now modern Vannes/Gwened. [4]

The Veneti were linguistically British: they spoke Breton, which was derived from Cornish, and they once ruled Cornwall and Devon. They had close trade ties. [clarification needed] When they were attacked by the Romans in Brittany, Julius Caesar reports that Cornwall sent them military aid.


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  1. the time of the Barrett Inquiry Hackney council told John Barrett that Beeches child deaths would not be subject of his inquiry. Diane Abbott specifically refused to pick up and run with her predecessor casework re The Beeches child deaths (See above)As far as I know in spite of 43 deaths in 18 years the parental concern group, about Beeches, was not told the name of the home GP. Oakwood School Stowmarket the county council refuses to disclose GP name. Information is it was the late Dr Lower who retired to become leader of county council and chair of social services. Lower was in “Ipswich Vocational Training Initiative for GPs” the vehicle for Ipswich Mengele John W Paulley research re corticosteroids, life event stress and effect of stress on long term progress of organic disease. They seem to have had sessions discussing patients and taking Paulley’s off the record prescribing instructions. No patient got a blue steroid card and the prednisone prescribing seems not to have been accurately recorded on Lloyd George cards. It is clear that Paulley research was complementary to the Cambridge Uni contracted research by Ipswich Family Psychiatric Centre whose director J G Howells concealed his researcher status from victims/patients. I have put the IFPC before IICSA. Now I wonder if Stowmarket GP Dr Lower referred inmates of abusive Oakwood and abusive St Georges Finborough to IFPC. The director of IFPC was a cttee colleague of Milner of Aston Hall and Sargent of St Thomas at Royal Medico Psychological Assn. I have wondered with the number of pupils in hospital wing at st georges and the number of abused Oakwood pupils was it simply a case of the local GP needing to have gone to Specsavers.

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