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Many cashels, however, are not easily defensible: often one side of them is extremely vulnerable. This suggests that they were built more for status than for defence, and possibly they acted as observation-posts - rather like today's fashion for cargo-cult bungalows with a view onto the road and with a prestige hand-built dry-stone wall fronting it.

Inland promontory-forts cut off mountain-spurs in a similar fashion.

More sophisticated ones do not actually cut off a promontory but occupy a cliff-top higher than the surrounding ground, as at Dún Aonghasa on the Aran Islands.

The most common of all ancient constructions in Ireland are the farmhouses, known as raths, always circular and with banks which once supported palisades.