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The Rock of Dunamase, COUNTY LAOIS
The Rock of Dunamase, known as "Dún Masc", 'the fort of Masc', from Masg, son of
Augen Urgruidh, 4th son of Sedha Sithbhaic King of Leinster, its ruins date back many
hundreds of years. The Rock stands 46 m tall in the heart of what is otherwise a flat
plain, and was ideal as a defensive position with its view right up to the Slieve Bloom
Mountains. Excavations in the 1990s demonstrated that the Rock was first settled in
the 9th century when a fort or dun was constructed on the site. In 845 the Vikings of
Dublin attacked the site and the abbot of Terryglass was killed there. The castle was
built in the second half of the 12th century. Who built it is not recorded, but Meyler
FitzHenry is the most likely candidate. Strongbow is another possibility, as it was he
who controlled Leinster as heir of Dermot McMurrough.