There’s very little to do on a wet day in Donegal.

Except perhaps, to climb a hill to look at a hillfort.

Dooneany fort (Dún an Aonaigh?) is somewhere between 2300 and 3100 years old, a rugged, weather-beaten and isolated spot, that took a battering not just from the elements but from beseigers, by the look of it.

The fort stands at the eastern end of the valley, at the end of a sharp socky outcrop that looks like the prow of a ship. If ships were made of boulders and bog soil, that is.

The dry stonewalls, built using maassive boulders, almost merge into the mountain, as if the builders were giants of old. This place took effort to build.

The fort was build at a strange time in Irish prehistory, a zone of silence between the bronze and iron ages.

Nothing much changed during those hundreds of years. Before and afterwards, people used essentially the same tools, the same weapons, buried their dead in the same ways.

Archaeologically though, it’s a missing era. Antiquarians can date finds to beforehand, and afterwards, yet very little had been found from this period.

The Heroic Age holds its secrets still.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.