Archaeologist to compile report on Knockma

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An archaeologist is to visit Knockma Hill in coming weeks in order to prepare a report for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, which will be used to assess the value of purchasing part of the hill to complete a walking route.
The news was welcomed this week by Deputy Paul Connaughton who said that it is necessary that the full benefit of purchasing the site is assessed by the Department before a decision is made.
‘An archaeologist employed by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is to visit Knockma in coming weeks to get a better understanding of the case for purchasing part of Knockma to complete a walking heritage trail. I have discussed this matter again this week with Minister Heather Humphreys and welcome this progress.
‘The report will detail the rich archaeological heritage of the site and assess the merit of purchasing the land which would allow greater access to this ancient site. Knockma is one East Galway’s most important sites in terms of archaeology and mythology. According to legend, Knockma is where Finnbheara, king of the Connacht fairies, holds court, and it is also reputed to be the burial place of Queen Maeve. Finnbheara is the legendary protector of horses and crops and had an annual battle with the fairies or Ulster where the prize for victory was good crops in the relevant province, while the crops of the vanquished failed. Three cairns or burial mounds are to be found at the top of Knockma and the hill is also home to rare species of flowers more usually found in the Burren.
‘From the 170 metre summit of Knockma, walkers enjoy panoramic views across the plains of Connacht and that is what has made the development of a walking route on the hill most attractive. For many years a hard-working local committee have been developing a heritage walkway on Knockma and the purchase of additional land will add significantly to the project.
‘Minister Humphreys recently visited Knockma at my invitation and was very impressed with the work done by the local committee and I believe that this commissioning of an archaeological report is a significant step in the right direction in terms of advancing this project.’