The parish of Blackwater like many in Co. Wexford contains a variety of Raths (Raheens/Ringforts) Mottes and Anglo-Norman Farmsteads. 

What is surprising is the amount of early Anglo-Norman enclosures which remain in the Blackwater area unlike other neighbouring parishes where many have been lost. In saying that, there seemed to be very few raheens in the area compared to their neighbouring northern coastal villages such as Kilmuckridge and Ballygarrett where they are abundant. The term raheen is used in the northern part of county Wexford instead of rath or ringfort which there are also know as in Wexford. 
A fantastic example of a raheen still stands in Monarrig and I visited this with Eugene Murphy. The raheen has a car track through it which is used by the family who owns the land. The raheen is in good order and the ring and bank are clearly visable. A small stream runs closeby which would have provided the inhabitants with fresh water.  

Edward Culleton, in his book, ‘On Our Own Ground’ claims that this raheen and another at Castletalbot date from between the seventh and tenth century and were built around the time of the Early Christian church sites at Killila, Kilmacot and Kilnew.
The early Normans left their mark on the villages landscape too and there are the remains of two motte’s to be seen today. There are two examples of two late twelfth century mottes in Inch and Tinnick. I visited the one in Tinnick and this is where I met Eugene Murphy. 

These are visible today and the view from the motte in Inch is astounding, with 360 degree views of the county, taking in Rosslare and Mount Leinster. 

There are newer enclosures from the thirteenth and fourteenth which more than likely would have been the constructed farmsteads of Anglo-Norman settlers. Their defensive nature suggests the need for protection against resurgent Gaelic clans from the area. Examples of these can be found in Ballyhigh, Garrynisk, Knockanevin, Ballyvoodrane and Kilmacot. I visited the encloser at Kilmacot and it is completely preserved apart from being overgrown with vegetation. You can see the other enclose at Ballyvoodrane when standing at the one in Kilmacot. This was a common practice with these enclosures, where you stood in one, you could count three. Although I could only count one in this case, Eugene told me that the nearby house, a holiday home now, appeared in the local Schools Folklore Scheme in 1937. The story told was that the house which is build close to the enclosure had problems with ‘the fairies’ and that they could never keep one door on the hinges as it was built on the path of the fairies. This story has been told to me the length and breath of the country as people built their houses on fairy paths or on a line running between two raheens or forts. 

Unfortunately some of these enclosures have been lost due to the developments in land use however most remain and these are fantastic examples of our built environment and still are part of our living landscape. 

‘The Moate’ which lies in Inch, across the road from the caravan park is one that has puzzled many for a long time. Although called a moate locally, the mound is probably a naturally formed sand mound, it has been a site of significance in the area pre-Norman and possibly pre-Christian times. It commands an incredible view of the landscape from Rosslare to Mount Leinster and is associated with name Ardlarua which is linked to the naming of Crosslaghroe cross roads. Information on this appears in the 1925 copy of The Past and is well worth reading. Anyone with further information on this?

Raheens, Mottes and Mounds

Inch, Tinnick, Monarrig,

Kilmacot, Ballyvoodrane

and Knockanevin, Co. Wexford