As can be seen in Figure 12.3, this area of the borderlands has received highly consistent attention over the centuries. North Louth and South Armagh have some of the oldest and newest defensive structures and much of them are densely packed. The very name South Armagh still carries the bloody tinge of recent conflict. Many of the Operation Banner structures marked on the map in that area are hilltop watchtowers, a much more assertive deployment than the low-lying installations and checkpoints which tends to be the norm elsewhere along the border. This area’s role as interface is even charted in ancient literature, being the backdrop to the epic story Táin Bó Cúailnge. It was here that the warrior Cúchulainn took his stand against

the invasion of Ulster by a southern horde. This tale of violence, land, cattle and kinship was passing from the oral tradition to the written around the Early Medieval period, the time many of those souterrains and raths were being dug.