The Corlea Trackway

An Chorr Liath

The Corlea Trackway

An Chorr Liath

Ireland's Hidden Heartlands by Abarta Heritage

Discover the story of this remarkable ancient routeway at the Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre.

Ireland’s bogs have always had a sense of otherworldliness. They often formed the natural boundaries and borders between ancient kingdoms, and were seen as ‘liminal’ spaces where the natural order of things was different and occasionally dangerous. Archaeological and accidental discoveries over the years of votive offerings, including human remains, has reinforced the otherworldly aspect in the national consciousness. However, somewhat paradoxically, bogs have also had an entirely practical aspect to Irish lives over the centuries. Though today they are chiefly exploited for peat-turf fuel, in the past they would have been hunting grounds for wildfowl, places noted for their preservative qualities for goods like butter, and important sources of useful plants and building materials like reeds for thatch, and more.

However, the bogs were, and still are, undoubtedly highly dangerous to traverse without proper roads. From the time of the earliest settlements in Ireland to the present day, the difficulty of constructing safe routes through the bog has challenged communities. One of the most remarkable solutions is the Corlea Trackway. This trackway (also known as a togher) is over 2,000 years old, dating to 148 BC. It was made of oak planks laid transversely on large parallel runners that were laid lengthways. It stretched for over 2km (1.25 miles), crossing into the neighbouring townland of Derraghan.

The Corlea Trackway was excavated by Professor Barry Raftery in 1984, and was found to be the widest trackway yet discovered. Intriguing evidence of the people who built it was also identified by the archaeologists: a number of tub-shaped wooden containers were found, perhaps the refuse of prehistoric packed lunches! A large section of the trackway from Cloonbreany Townland was excavated and conserved, and is now on display in the excellent Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre, which was constructed on the exact axis of the trackway. Looking at the beautifully preserved trackway, it is impossible to prevent yourself wondering about whose feet may have trod those same planks 2,000 years earlier. For more on the Corlea Trackway and the incredible archaeology of Irish bogs, tune into this episode of the Amplify Archaeology Podcast for a fascinating discussion with wetland experts Cathy Moore and Ben Gearey.

Visiting The Corlea Trackway – Information

Coordinates: Lat. 53.612260, Long. -7.844691
Grid Reference: N 10280 62514
Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre Opening Times:  2nd April – 6th October, daily 10:00 – 18:00. Last admission is 45 minutes before closing. To be certain please see the OPW website.
Nearest Town: Corlea Trackway is 3km from the village of Keenagh and 15km from Longford.
Entry Fee: Free.
Accessibility: The visitor centre is accessible to wheelchair users, as are some of the trackways of the grounds.
Dog Friendly?
I believe dogs are permitted in the grounds when on a leash, but not within the visitor centre.

Directions to Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre:
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