The Furness ‘Longstone’
Text and Model by Seán Sourke
Standing Stone and Cist (National Monuments KD019-022002-, and KD019-022003-)
This stone (KD019-022002-) is traditionally known as “The Longstone Rath”, due to its location in the centre of a large circular enclosure with a diameter of 63 meters (KD019-022001-). This enclosure is defined by an earthen bank with an outer fosse (not modelled here). It is located northeast of Naas at Forenaghts Great townland.
An excavation in 1912 revealed a large rectangular cist (KD019-022003-) with a cobbled floor that contained human remains. These were interpreted as being of two cremated adults; a male and possibly a female. It also revealed that the stone was set in a socket cut from the natural bedrock. A layer of burnt soil within the enclosure indicated that the complex may have been burnt following its construction, which was interpreted by the excavating archaeologists in 1912 as potentially evidence of a deliberate ritual burning.
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This tall standing stone is just one of a number located in the countryside surrounding Naas in Co. Kildare. Two of these standing stones are better known as they are (or were) visible to those attending Punchestown Racecourse. Of the two, the once famous landmark Punchestown Standing Stone is, in fact, a signposted national monument. It once had a stile for the public to access the field in which it stands, and it still has a relatively recent visitor information panel standing adjacent. However, the official brown National Monuments sign, almost hidden with ivy, now points to a tall impenetrable hedgerow. Access has been blocked for a number of years and no attempt appears to have been made to rectify this or create an alternative entrance. A monument that was once a well visited local attraction is now no longer visible or accessible from the public road. This serves to highlight the need to make these monuments more present in the public consciousnesses and thereby more likely that access would be defended and maintained. With the lack of access such monuments fade from public view and become at risk of being swept away and not saved for future generations.