Pre-History

Evidence of Bronze Age inhabitation is to be found in the prevalence of lioses (also known as Ring Forts – as far as can be ascertained they were enclosed farmsteads with a domestic rather than military purpose and they date from a period between 400 AD and 1200 AD. That they weathered the years can be attributed in large part to an aura of superstition associated with them. These old survivors were, and indeed still are, known as “fairy forts” and dare not be violated) which were to be found in most of the townlands of the parish at one time. Many still remain.

 

The site at McAuliffes farm, Ballytrasna is particularly large and there is a remarkable lios at Finns, Ballyroberts, which is surrounded by three concentric mounds. A fibula (ancient brooch) was found at this site in 1838. In the townland of Ballyarra a souterrain site was discovered by William Ronayne in 1953 at McAuliffes farm, about a quarter of a mile downstream from Bridesbridge. It is probable that the souterrain dates from the 7th  century A.D. Bronze and iron pins as well as flint and deer antlers were among the finds at this location.

 

Near the parish boundary is Corrin Hill, the site of Cairn Tighearnaigh (Cairn is a round or long mound of stones, often covering chamber or burial (sometimes used for earth mound).
An early bronze Age site was uncovered here in 1833. The cairn which stood on the summit of the hill was almost circular in shape. It measured 100′ x 90′ and was topped by a pillar of stones 9′ high. Two vessels were found in the cairn; one was destroyed on the site the other passed into the hands of Rev. J.B. Ryder, who was then resident  in Castlelyons House and who became notorious  in 1834 when he was the clergyman involved in the Gortrua Tithe War murders. The vessel was 5½” high 3½” in diameter at the base and 5¾” at the mouth. It had a conical cover, it was not an urn, but was intended as a food container. Close to the carin a hill fort was built during the early Iron Age. This great fort had three embankments running the full breadth of the hill.

 

Among other items found in the district was a stone axe, a perfect specimen now on display in the museum, Enniscorthy. It was found in 1949 at Riordans farm, Ballyarra.

 

St Bridget’s Stone (megalithic structure) – located in a field on the north facing slope in a fiels to the east of Britway  Church. This is roughly a rectangular structure, consisting of a number of upright slabs and lying slabs. This is known locally as “St Bridget’s Stone” and hollows along the eastern edge are siad to be impressions of her knees.