As you pass along the road from Inchigeelagh towards Ballingeary, after about three miles on your left hand side, you may notice a tiny island in Loch Allua situated about 50 Metres offshore. This is our crannóg, an artifical island known locally as Oilean Ui Mhaothagain (Mehigan's Island). Whether it was named from a local chieftain or from meathain which is the Irish for twigs and saplings (as has been suggested) we may probably never know. However there is a townland called Derryvane (Doire an Mheathain) very close by so that could well be the root, or vice-versa. The crannóg is in the townland of Tir-na-Spideoige (Land of the Robins).

A crannóg is a type of ancient loch-dwelling, built on an artificial island, found throughout Ireland and Scotland and dating mainly from the Early Christian Period, but may be much older. Many crannógs were built out in the water as defensive homesteads and represented symbols of power and wealth, and some may have been used well into the times of recorded history. It is not unusual to find evidence of jewellery being manufactured on these islands.

The crannóg at Tirnaspideoga

The crannóg now consists of little more than a pile of small boulders measuring around 10 metres by 13 metres, standing about 0.8 metres above water level. The water here is about 1.5 metres deep. A flooded causeway is said to join the crannóg to the lake shore. Willow trees grow exuberantly on the island, leaving little room to land. In its original state it probably carried a wooden building supported clear of the water on stakes. A raised walkway may have joined it to the shore. There is some evidence of a submerged causeway linking the island to shore.

An example of a crannóg of this kind in Scotland has been restored after considerable archaeological investigation. 

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