Posted by murrisk on November 26, 2000 at 22:43:47:
Several years ago I was introduced to a fellow (don't remember his name) in Henry Downes' garage who hunted for artifacts with a metal detector. He said he had recovered one ounce weight
lead balls from the walls of the Black Fort. These could be from 1798. The Black Fort shows as an antiquities site on maps from the 1830's. At that time the fort stood on the waters edge because
the level of Lough Lannagh was much higher. There was a house near to the fort which was accessed from a road that connected to the Newport Road one field west of its junction with the Pound Road.
There was a house at this junction - later Egans?? In the 1830's, there was a Lough Lea which came up to the Newport Road, on its north side, along the townland boundary between Snugborough
and Garryduff. By the 1900's, as a result of drainage schemes, Lough Lea had been drained and the level of Lough Lannagh had been lowered. This resulted in the Black Fort being left high
and dry; the exposure of what became the Point; and the creation of the Cut which replaced the original broad channel between the two bodies of the lake. Boyd's Islands were made into dry land.
Later, the remnant of these islands, the rocky point jutting into the lake opposite the Point from the Westport Road side, would be known as MacDonald's Island. Who built the fort?
I doubt it was a military structure as the site in not defensible. It could have been a residence/manor but there is no grand entrance. My guess is that it was a Folly -possibly a structure built by
gentry for summer frolics. I remember as a kid swimming to the fort from the diving board to collect fresh water mussels. There were lots of them in the shallow dipping muddy lake bottom. I think
the fort was built from limestone but I don't recall any limestone quarries in the vicinity. Is Gibbon's Hill the name of the hill between the Black Fort and the Newport Road, or is it out near Raheens ?? ??
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