It seems few people visit this site without getting a soaking or having difficulty finding it. Well the former was true for us, but I think the signage must have improved considerably as we found it fairly easily. It's a bit of a trudge from where we parked next to a waterworks(?) on the main road (why does it always seem to take longer to walk 'to' somewhere rather than 'from'?), but well worth a visit. The tomb stands majestically on a slightly elevated position overlooking the Lough with the Sperrin Mountains as a backdrop. I'm sure it would look even more enigmatic in low Autumnal sunlight on a dry day, but that's for another day.
The best way to visit this tomb is from the west, drive north passing by Lough Mallon and take the next left, then turn left again and follow the road down to the very end, the tomb can be seen in the field to your left, go through the gate and up the field, very easy, no cows, no bog, no Bullshit.
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.
Visited 23rd March 2004: This was one of those mad visits when you ask yourself, "why am I doing this?". I'd already tried to find Creggandevesky earlier in the day, and decided that I'd better quit and see Beaghmore before I ran out of time. Having seen Beaghmore a second attempt was foolish, given that our flight out of Belfast wasn't far off. But it bugged me that I'd not found it earlier in the day, so I had one last crack at it.
With some help from the GPS (forgotten earlier in the day) I found the footpath leading to the tomb. Then the heavens opened up, and I had second thoughts. It bucketed it down, and I knew I hadn't got the time to sit it out, so I got out the car and started walking. Within metres I was drenched, and I couldn't see through my glasses. The GPs was just about readable, and I could see the lake, so I staggered on through significant amounts of mud.
The rain stopped as I reached the tomb, and it took a while to figure out what it looked like (had to clean my glasses). It was weird landing up at a site having had no sensible visual clues as to what you were about to see. The tomb is impressive (not that I have many court tombs to compare it to) but fenced too closely. It's solid, but graceful; the photos show it better than I could describe. Lough Mallon makes for a beautiful setting, and when the sun started shining and a rainbow came out I felt a lot happier. It was a short visit though.
I ran back to the hire car. On the way I passed a broken wooden sign hidden behind a wall directing visitors to the tomb. After a morning of driving in circles, more evidence that some people don't want visitors to Creggandevesky. I had to change into dry clothes in the car, then after a hair-raising drive back to Belfast to collect Lou, we did make our flight.