The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Portal Tomb


A visit to the stones two hundred years ago. The superstitious may want to infer something from the horse's reticence. But I think we need a proper experiment with a range of horses and control stones before we leap to any conclusions.
It will gratify any person, who, from a motive of curiosity, can turn a little aside (about a quarter of a mile,) from the thoroughfare of business, to see a CROMLECH, or stone of worship, on the right hand of the road leading from Belfast to Newtownards, at a place called Green-Graves, and about a mile and a half from Dundonald, (so named, probably, from the sepulchral mount adjacent, the mount of Donald, a chieftain resting under it).

This Cromlech, consisting of one large rock, supported on five others, smaller in size, two in front, of a wedge shape at top, and a third lying across the remaining two, upon which, and the two front supporters, the great stone majestically reposes, in an inclined position, as is generally the case, in this druidical monument.

Though perhaps not the largest of many to be seen in different parts of Ireland, it certainly, on a near approach to it, has a respectable, not to say a sublime, aspect; particularly when accompanied with the ideas of great antiquity, great power in the construction, and a great obscurity respecting its original destination.

My Rozinante, who thinks as little of the past as he does of the future, and is now come to a time of life when he can no longer boast of any nice sensibilities, no sooner came within sight of the sloping stone, than, by pricking up his ears, and a sudden start, he roundly declared, that he had never met with such a thing in the whole course of his life; nor could my repeated assurances, that it was nothing but a stone, (such as Fin Mac Coul might have worn in his ring,) induce him to cross an imaginary circle, which kept him at an awful and admiring distance.

The Duke de Vendomes used to say, that in all the disputes he had seen between the mule and the muleteer, and he had seen many hundreds, the mule was always right in the argument, and his driver in the wrong. In the present instance, I confess, I thought my beast was entirely and obstinately in the wrong, but I conceded the point to him, and allowed him to graze at the distance he thought most agreeable. [...]

From The Belfast Monthly Magazine, August 1812.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th February 2014ce
Edited 12th February 2014ce

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