Slieve Breagh is an ENE-WSW ridge (L of summit c. 500m) that is part of an NE-SW line of hills which extends from Rathkenny, Co. Meath almost to Dunleer, Co. Louth (L c. 15km). There are a number of summit ridges with high cols between them. Breagh is derived from Brega (the heights) which is also the name of the Meath territory. The E end of this summit and much of its S face in Creewood townland is now reclaimed pasture but the remainder in Rathbranchurch is unchanged from the 1836 edition of the OS 6-inch map and preserves a collection of earthwork monuments consisting mostly of barrows and a few raths as well as some hut-sites that were recorded in the 1950s (de Paor and Ó h-Eochaidhe 1956).
There was some excavation (E000038) in the Creewood part of the complex in 1959-1961, but little is known about the results (Herity and Eogan 1977, 49). This feature was isolated in the uncultivated land on the S-facing slope with another hut site (No. 29) c. 20m to the NE. It is described (de Paor and Ó h-Eochaidhe 1956 100, No. 28) as one of a group of oval features (dims 5.7m x 3.7m to 7.3m x 6.2m) defined by low earthen banks frequently with an entrance gap. This one seems to have been excavated and may have been one of the two circular hut-sites of late Neolithic date as its site was marked by a circle of concrete posts in 1984 (SMR file). One of the hut-sites had a double ring of posts and an entrance porch at SE, possibly more akin to a timber circle, although it also had a central hearth (Smyth 2014, 88-89). The artefacts included Grooved ware pottery, iron slag and a glass bead as well as flint, chert and quartz artefacts.
This monument is subject to a preservation order made under the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2014 (PO no. 11/1956).
See the attached plan of the monuments from de Paor and Ó h-Eochaidhe (1956, fig. 2)
The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Meath' (Dublin: Stationery Office, 1987). In certain instances the entries have been revised and updated in the light of recent research.
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload: 10 July 2007
Amended: 5 August 2022
Description Source: Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage