|As usual the sunlight was a gorgeous golden shade against a dark stormy sky, picking out and magnifying the green shades in the trees. Also as usual, this was while I was on the road between Armagh town and Cookstown. By the time I got to Creggandevesky the haze on the horizon was filtering out the strong sunlight and the lovely stormy sky was dissapating.
This site is signed all the way off the main Cookstown-Omagh road but the very last sign is minisule and green, spotted at the last second while driving down the road. I only noticed on the way back that the site is clearly visible from the road until you park. There is a decent stile there which gives you the false impression that access is easy. I made my way down to the lakeside and decided that the locked gates meant the south shore was not an official right of way, what a fatal error!
I made my way around the north shore which was boggy but passable until you pass the knoll that blocks the tomb from view. Once I got this far around I realised the track ended in a barbed wire fence, on closer inspection it was a DOUBLE barbed wire fence. With the light fading fast there was nothing else to be done so I scaled the fence and soon found myself in boggier and boggier marsh. This meant circumnavigating part of the lake that was overgrown and crossing another fence with soggier and soggier toes. When I was about 100m away from the tomb I discovered the ground dissapeared down into a deep banked stream, a prod with a tripod leg ruled out a crossing attempt.
As luck would have it though I followed it back towards the lake, resigned to not making it to the site when I noticed the stream was covered over nearer to the lake so the only obstacle left was another barbed wire fence and foot deep-holes of cow dung.
Though the fence is far too close this site is really wonderful, though the sketchy access has not deterred the vandals, names were carved in foot high letters on both sides of the tomb entrance and the information board had been smashed and destroyed. Nonetheless the lakeside location and beautiful views soon distract you, the tombs remarkable state of preservation and neat construction easily make this the best court tomb I've yet to visit, even better than Creevykeel (possibly because that looks like its located in someones back garden). The tombs construction is better described elsewhere.
I wished I had brought a ladder to get some good overhead views, the sun did briefly make an appearance but even climbing the stile didn't offer a good overall view of the structure.
On the way back I took the south path around the lake, though be advised that the cows and bullocks here take no s**t, the usual shouts of 'gerrrrout!', 'whisssshhhhhhht!' and 'ye feckin JERK!' had absolutely no effect on the fecker standing directly in my path with his nicely rounded horns. More trekking through deep holes of dung with one eye over my shoulder on the way back to the car...
Dung, mud and bovine bothers aside, this is a real treat and should be visited by everyone who goes to Beaghmore up the road. If there were no fence, marsh and animal issues this would be a truly extraordinary site.
Posted by CianMcLiam
18th September 2006ce
Edited 18th September 2006ce