The Rock of Dunamase is one of our favourite spots to visit at night. It is located just 1 hour from our home and we have been to this location dozens of times.
The castle played an important role in the early Anglo-Norman expansion in Leinster as it sits on the main route between Laois and Carlow. Today most of the surviving ruins at the site date from the late 12th and early 13th centuries AD, but evidence for earlier activity also exists. Excavations carried out in the 1990s revealed at least two enclosing dry stone walls and an earthen bank which pre-dated the Anglo-Norman castle. 2 copper-alloy decorative pieces of 9th century date were uncovered along with a silver Anglo-Saxon penny (Ecgberht of Wessex, 802-839 AD). This ties in with the historical record, as the first reference to Dunamase occurs in 843 AD when it was attacked by the Vikings (Annals of Four Masters).
During the same excavation it was revealed that the castle was abandoned in the 14th century. This also ties in with historical accounts, which indicate that the fortress was was overrun by the Irish under the command of Leysart O’Moore in 1342.
A number of decapitated human skulls were also found during the excavation and it appears that these skulls would have been displayed along the battlements as a warning to potential invaders.
Every time we visit the rock we take our EMF (Electro Magnetic Frequency) reader with us and we always gat some very strong readings from the centre of the fort. It must be noted that this location is free from any form of electricity!
Anyone wishing to visit this location can do so at any time as it is always open to the public.