Toorybrenell Clochaun, AKA The Schoolhouse

One of the most striking architectural buildings on Inishmurray is the clochaun or beehive cell known as Toorybrennel. The clochaun is of drystone construction and its stunning dome shaped roof can be seen peeking above the cashel wall from most vantage points on the Island. Another striking feature is the shoulder high scarcement that runs around the entire cell. The clochaun stands within a terraced area in the northwest of the cashel and abuts Templenatinny. I stood in awe for a few minutes looking at this wonderfully constructed beehive cell, something I had wished to see for many years.

The only access to the beehive cell is through a passageway that runs from the terraced area to Templenatinny, see image below. On the left of the passage are two smaller passageways. The first leads to a small cell conjoined to the south wall of Toorybrenell. You will not see this cell from within the cashel walls until you enter the passageway. The second small passage on the left lead us to the north side entrance of Toorybrenell, see picture below right. It was a sheer joy to enter the clochaun. On the right as you enter is a wall bench, see image bottom right. Directly opposite the entrance, built into the south wall, is the only window. My next delight was the superb corbelling technique used in the construction of the roof , a method used in Ireland dating back to the Neolithic period. The walls are gradually corbelled inwards, until they can be spanned by a slab.


From the west



Corbelling technique

Situated:: In the terraced revetment in the northeast area of the cashel. Access is through the passageway next to the Clocha Breaca Leacht.

Discovery Map 16: G 5735 5386. Last visit June 2012.

Longitude: 8° 39' 26" W

Latitude: 54° 25' 53" Nt

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey.

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