This monument, which is the subject of a Preservation Order (No. 2 of 2008), is described by Stout (1991: 257) as:
Rath Maeve is located on an escarpment which occurs on the summit of a ridge 1km south of the Hill of Tara. The soil is a grey-brown podzolic. A bank encloses an oval, dome-shaped interior with an overall diameter of 240m north-south by 275m east-west. It is best preserved in the north and south, where the bank reaches a maximum internal height of 2.5m, with a flattened top, and an accentuated drop to the exterior of 4m. In well-preserved stretches, the bank is 7-10m wide at the base. It reaches a maximum width of 15m in the West. The ground level surrounding the enclosure to the west is much lower than the level of the interior owing to its location on the escarpment. Thus the builders of this monument used a natural feature to enhance the size of the enclosing banks, and the shape of the natural escarpment dictated, to a certain extent, the ground plan of Rath Maeve. A townland boundary ditch runs outside the north-east section of the site; with dimensions of 1.5m wide and 1m deep, it could not have been the source of the bank. This material is most likely to have come from a scarped area, 25m wide, which can be traced along the inside edge or the bank. This gives the interior of Rath Maeve a domed shape common amongst the larger embanked enclosures. There are a number of breaks along the circuit of the enclosure, most of which appear to be the result of later disturbance. The original western (259 degrees T) entrance has a maximum width of 20m, and has been hollowed out of the natural escarpment. The townland boundary, which cuts across the western end of the monument, has an irregular kink and may have been diverted in this manner to respect an internal feature which was remove dafter the construction of the boundary. This occurs at the highest point within the enclosure, at a position where the entire site is visible. A circular cropmark, probably a ring-ditch lies north-east of this feature (L. Swan, pers. comm.). (Petrie 1837, 206; ÓRíordain 1964, 24; Evans 1966, 177)
Date of revision: 10 January 2017Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.