Ancient Trackway

The Iron age trackway at Corlea in County Longford is an amazing site and a credit to the Office of Public Works. It such a pity that this incredible site does not get the amount of visitors it deserves. In 1984 Bord na Mona discovered the trackway about two metres under the surface of the bog and the trackway was duly excavated over a number of years by Professor Barry Rafferty from U.C.D. It was found to be an Iron age trackway, one kilometre long and wide enough to fit a cart. It is the widest iron age trackway ever discovered in europe built by the Celts. About 18 metres of trackway are preserved in the purpose built centre with a further eighty metres of trackway still lying under the the four hectares of preserved bog surrounding the centre.

During excavations at Corlea a few smaller bog trackways also known as Toghers were found, the earliest dating to around 4000 BCE was comprised of packed hazel, birch and alder placed lengthways along the track with occasional cross timbers for support. Another trackway dating to 2,259 BCE was also found and this track crossed over the earlier neolithic trackway, which lay 80cms below, this shows how much the bog had grown during the period. The tour guides at Corlea are excellent and take you on a small tour of the bog along the modern boardwalk, pictured below. Due to the fact there are so few visitors to the site, the on site cafe is closed, but there are a few picnic tables at the site so may I suggest you bring a packed lunch and turn your visit into a family day out.

Situated: From Mullingar take the R392 West to Ballymahon (25 Kilometres). Drive straight through the town, staying on the R392. After a further 8 kilometres you should see the signs for Corlea Visitor Centre on your right hand side.

Discovery Map 40: N 1022 6253. Last visit April 2011.

Longitude: 7° 50' 44" W

Latitude: 53° 36' 45" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

Visitor centre from the boardwalk

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