Corn Hill

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Corn Hill
County Longford
Cairn Hill6.JPG
Corn Hill
Range: Longford Hills
Summit: 912 feet N18778422
53°48’26"N, 7°42’57"W

Corn Hill is in County Longford, standing to the north of Longford, between Drumlish and Ballinalee, in the parish of Killoe. Its summit at 912 feet is County Longford's county top; its highest point. The hill has a transmitter on the top which rises over 300 feet above the peak of the hill.


Corn Hill goes by a number of names. In English it is known as Corn Hill but is also known as Carn Clonhugh or as Cairn Hill. In the Irish language it is named Carn Clainne Aodha or Sliabh Cairbré.

The name Carn Clonhugh appears to be from the Irish Carn Clainne Aodha, meaning "cairn of Clann Aodha", or "Cairn of Hugh's Children". Clanhugh was a historic territory in the northwest of County Longford. The earliest cartographic reference to the hill is found in the 1837-1842 Ordnance Survey Ireland 6 Inch map, which can be seen on the Ordnance Survey Ireland website. By the time of the 2nd edition 1887-1913 Ordnance Survey 25 Inch map, "Carn Clonhugh" had disappeared, replaced by "Corn Hill", which appears to be a development from "Carn Hill".


Cairn Hill behind a ringfort

Cairn Hill is located in area of north Longford dominated by Middle to Upper Ordovician slate, sandstone, conglomerate and greywacke.

Views from the summit

The hill has extensive views of the landscape below. The forested land obstructs most of the view from Cairn A, but Cairn B has an extensive panorama from WSW to SSE. Sliabh Ban can clearly be seen from Cairn B along with the peat power-station of Lanesborough–Ballyleague and Ardagh Hill.


Furbaide Ferbend

Passage graves usually cluster in two or more cairns, consisting of mainly a passage leading to a central chamber, corbelled roofed chamber sometimes in the form of a cruciform shape. The perimeter of the cairn would be edged by kerbstones, like those of Newgrange in Meath and Carrowmore, County Sligo. Passage tombs are usually found in prominent locations, such as hill-tops, with spectacular views. Generally speaking, the less complex the passage tomb is the older it is considered to be. The possible passage tombs atop Corn Hill are considered to be among the oldest in Ireland along with Carrowmore, Co. Sligo.[1]

The hill is particularly important for the two possible passage grave structures atop it. The largest example is Cairn A (or Carn Caille), marking the highest physical point of the hill with a diameter of 18m and height of 3m. Reference to that cairn does not appear until 1960, when Ordnance Survey Ireland installed a trig point, partially damaging the cairn. An excavation took place before installation, with cremated bone recovered from a central rectangular chamber. The second cairn, Cairn B is about 50m to the north of Cairn A, with a 9m diameter and difficult to identify due to the extensive covering of peat and heather.[2]


Cairn A or Carn Caille

Cairn A (or Carn Caille) has two legends associated with it. The first refers to the location of the burial place of Queen Maeve's nephew and murderer, Furbaide Ferbend on the summit of Sliabh Uillen (Corn Hill). The second legend refers to Cairn A (or Carn Caille) and its creation by the Cailleach a Bheara or ancient Hag/Witch who dropped stones out of her apron as she flew over the hill. This legend is also associated with many Passage grave sites throughout the island of Ireland, such as Carrowmore and Carrowkeel in County Sligo.[3]


On the hill stands the first UHF transmitter in the Republic of Ireland, opened by RTÉ in 1978. It was designed to fill an area of poor reception in the Irish midlands. The transmitter is the most powerful in Ireland, with an ERP of 800 kW. Initially just one channel (RTÉ 1) was carried, but now the country's four networks are available in UHF from this site. The transmitter was set up to carry radio stations; only RTÉ Radio 1 has begun broadcasting so far. The transmitter begun digital terrestrial television transmissions in February 2009.



  1. Moore, Sam (2007). Archaeological Monuments of County Longford. Longford. pp. 4. 
  2. Moore, Sam (2007). Archaeological Monuments of County Longford. Longford. pp. 4. 
  3. Moore, Sam (2007). Archaeological Monuments of County Longford. Longford. pp. 4. 

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