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Lemnagh Beg (Passage Grave)

The furthest west of the three and the second one we visited. Pulled in at the farmhouse and asked for permission to proceed which was promptly granted. Bring wellies, or other waterproof footwear – there is a lot of mud. The farmer pointed out the location to us, high to the west of his yard on a prominent knoll. The land rises to the south behind the tomb and falls steeply north beyond and towards White Park Bay.

Fourwinds reckons this is the best preserved of the three but that’s difficult to gauge in its current overgrown, unloved state. The capstones arcs over the chamber east to west but seems to be falling away to the north. It’s hard to check because of all the growth. There is evidence of some kerbstones in amongst all the gorse at the north side of the monument but overall this was a frustrating visit, any possibility of figuring out the remains of a passage or even the chamber entrance lost under nasty herbage.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
16th October 2021ce

Magheraboy (Passage Grave)

We approached this from the south because we just don’t listen, another needless half hour toil because we’ll never learn. But that’s nearly half the pleasure, traipsing amidst the gorgeous wild mint in the summery half-bog on the northern slopes of Lannimore Hill, frustrated but determined because when you know what’s on offer you’re never giving up. Footwear counts around here, even in the dry season.

Though it’s on the highest bit of ground for a couple of hundred metres all around it, gorse keeps it hidden from the west, where we were, mainly… until we weren’t. Because eventually we spied it, peeping up almost furtively about 300 metres away, way over there, the three guides we might have followed: tjj, minipixel and Fourwinds ignored because we’re idiots – or at least I am because my companion mainly relies on me knowing what I’m doing.

Such an elegant sculpture, denuded of its cairn, left for us to marvel at in a marvellous location. One of three, it’s sisters are at Clegnagh and Lemnagh Beg a kilometre and a kilometre-and-a-bit to the west. This is the best of the three, a bit of space and a smidge of care (maybe by default) and some fame ensuring it can keep its best face forward. The capstone hangs delicately over the sunken, flooded chamber floor, balanced elegantly with its prow at the north, reaching for the infinite out over White Park Bay.

There are signs of the kerb at the north, an arc of four boulders, and also at the south-west, but covered by the dreaded gorse these days. Small complaint though as the chamber charms any resentment away.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
14th October 2021ce

Ballyvoy (Passage Grave)

Crockateemore is a small hill/prominence 120 metres above the foam, one and a half kilometres south-west of Fair Head and Cross passage tomb. The passage tomb here could be said to be a close relation to that at Cross, though it would have been far larger. The location is as stunning.

We did what we were told and headed north out of the hamlet of Ballyvoy all the way to the end at the farmhouse where we knocked and asked for permission. Receptions this far from home can be unpredictable. I sat in the jeep 50 metres away as the farmer listened to Thomas with utter insouciance, all the while staring at me, eventually relenting to Thomas’s simple country charm, even allowing us to drive through his yard and up to within 100 metres of the tombs.

Which came first, the court or the passage? The passage sits above the scarped edge of Crockateemore, below which lies the court tomb 30 metres distant at the south-west. All that remains is the ring of the kerb, 15 metres diameter, 40 boulders, some contiguous. There are some stones within the ring, none identifiable as anything more than a guess. But no matter, because what is important here is the location.

Rathlin lies a short 5 kilometres to the north, Knocklayd 6 to the south-west. Though you’re on farmland here, the coast stretching away to the east and the west makes the relic feel utterly maritime. Like at Fair Head there are cliffs nearby, north-facing bluffs leading down not to the sea directly, but to a narrow strip of land 20 metres above the crashing waves. Just slightly east of north of here there is a way down, a venture that shall remain unfulfilled for the moment.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
13th October 2021ce

Tammaskirk (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

NMRS record no. HY 42SW 12. The way I went to the site requires low tide. By the Hall of Rendall the millburn enters the sea and you follow the shore from there. Some general features are apparent with a variety of construction techniques. It feels like the cliff isn’t natural but all mound material, and this appears to be born out by the rise to a low promontory at the N end close to the kirk site. Antiquarians deemed it a broch, though nowadays the more generic term of Atlantean roundhouse is preferred (“2 main sections of massive walling” with “coursed masonry and vertical slabs” seen as intra-mural). An alternative conjecture specifically related it to the Knowe of Nesthouse chambered mound, though the similarities strike me as superficial from a distance. From the main road you can make out the short arc feature between the field walls at the south end that shows on Canmap. If this were a roundhouse settlement you would expect more of these even with what is left of the site. If it is all we have of a broch tower perhaps the promontory is the outer bank for the outworks. We needn’t stick with any of the above, seeing it instead as a sequence of various Iron Age settlement types rendered higgledy-piggledy by time and erosion wideford Posted by wideford
13th October 2021ce

Kinuachdrachd (Cairn(s))

This is quite literally the end of the road as far as Jura is concerned. The track ends at Kinauchdrachd at a farmhouse that both looks like it's being restored or fallen down. What has almost fallen is the small houses of the small hamlet that once existed here.

Just beyond these buildings is a flat area which looks as if it has been farmed, this houses the two cairns.

The cairn at NR 7053 9885 is the largest being 11m wide and 1m tall. It appears to have a capstone or large stone on top. Apart from that it is grass covered. Canmore say no kerbs, I think a couple poke their heads through the turf.

The smaller cairn is only 15m to west and is also grass covered but a very lovely shape. It is almost 5m wide and 0.6m tall.

Both cairns have tremendous views over the Sound Of Jura and Scarba (island), the other side of Corryvreckan.

Now for those going on to Corryvreckan viewpoint to see the standing wave, whirlpools and Scarba finding the path can be a nightmare. We scrambled up the steep slopes through woods to eventually reach the path heading north, however there is a much easier way. Go back to the farmhouse and head down the track for 50m, look for a broken stump on the west side, this marks the beginning of the route to the viewpoint. The post, which once upon a time had a sign, has all but rotted away, look up the hill and path can be spied but the beginning of it cannot be seen. The ferns on Jura have had a glorious year!. The track is fairly easy, over a couple of wee hills till the viewpoint.

Despite the length of the walk, this is a stunning place, stunning scenery and a lot of prehistory on the way. Give yourself plenty time and leave earlyish, by the time we arrived back to the car it was still daylight, by the time we arrived back in Craighouse it was dark.

Great walk, great sites, and feet reasonably fine.

Visited 28/07/2021.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
13th October 2021ce

Ticloy (Portal Tomb)

Ticloy, Tamybuck, Antynanum – there’s quite a bit going on in this neighbourhood, a nice triangle of megalithic mystery, only if you’re going to Antynanum, bring a map, which I didn’t, so I didn’t go. But Ticloy is visible from the road, and though ugly, is quite the charmer.

These mid-Antrim tombs, away from the sea, are easily accessible, mostly. We stopped a tractor on the lane below the tomb and asked for permission to visit and though he didn’t own the field, the farmer reckoned the owner wouldn’t mind us checking it out as it’s quite the popular attraction apparently. Except the field it’s in was under crop at the time of our visit.

So what to do? Well it’s not that far from the southern edge of the field so I skirted around that direction from the west, taking a few foties as I went. The crop between the tomb and the southern wall was thin enough for me to venture across to it.

Seven stones remain. Instead of the usual single capstone there’s two. Which leads one to question whether it’s a classic portal tomb at all. Further reading mentions a former court-like facade at the east. Speculation that the Antynanum court-tomb builders were experimenting with a new form while retaining some of their own tradition sounds quite convincing.

Ticloy squats there, bulky, ragged, tottering, testament to the ingenuity of the ancestors, hanging on in there despite the ever-increasing mechanisation of the society around it. You could mooch around the stones here for a bit and not regret it. Slemish away to the south-west draws the eye, focus of so many monuments in Antrim.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
5th October 2021ce

Barnhill (Kerbed Cairn)

I couldn't get to the dun but I could get to the Kerb Cairn. Keep following the road north until, at a severe corner, you go past the entrance to Barnhill.

There is a flatter area of grass as the road heads north, look east you'll see a gap in the dyke which leads up the small hill of Glac A Chneamha. Along with nearby Cnoc an t-Sabhail, the area Barnhill was built on, there is evidence of small hamlets and a now long gone population. Bronze Age people lived here and maybe they had a small village here as well. I couldn't find that, I found some of the medieval 'but n ben's and more importantly for here the cairn remains in place.

Once on top of Glac A Chneamha head south over fairly uneven ground, nothing to bad.

The site is almost 5m wide and 0.3m tall. One kerb remains in place, its near neighbour topped and another on the east also toppled. However in the centre there is perhaps a cist, hard to tell with all the vegetation. Jura has had a remarkable summer for ferns! Absolutely stunning views, the Sound of Jura, mainland Scotland, to the north Scarba's east coast.

Onwards and north.

Visited 28/07/2021.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
4th October 2021ce

Rubh' an Truisealaich (Stone Fort / Dun)

Continuing northwards we eventually looked down into the valley in which Barnhill stands, the house made famous by George Orwell who wrote 1984 here and by some of his exploits on boats.

The house is still owned by the Fletcher family who rented it to Orwell, and at the time of this visit the house was occupied by members of the Fletcher family. To get to the site would have meant walking across their land and nobody was at home.

So pictures of the dun perhaps broch from afar. Tremendous site for such a monument with superb views south. East and north views of the Sound of Jura and the Scottish mainland.

Would have been nice to get closer.

Visited 28/07/2021.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
4th October 2021ce

Cnoc Nan Darag (Chambered Cairn)

For a long time it was considered that the chamber cairn at Cladh Chlainn Iain was the only monument of this type on Jura. It looks like the Jura Heritage Society might have found another.

After clambering my way cross country, from the cairn at Cnoc A Chuirn, following the stream I landed in, Allt a'Chuirn Mhoir north westish I regained the firmer ground of the track near a bright blue coloured bridge, Follow the track as it meanders north crossing a bridge near a hut, keep going until until a silver coloured bridge. The site is beyond, hiding behind a small mound and to the west.

Using the casual eye I made the site 15m long, 4m wide and perhaps 2m tall. Stone work can be seen a points all round the cairn especially at the eastern end.

Nowadays this a lonely lonely place, in the past and perhaps not to distant past quite a lot of people lived here. Sadly apart from residents at Barnhill the area is population free except for wildlife. However it has tremendous views especially north east to the Scottish mainland.

Worth a visit!

Visited 28/07/2021.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
4th October 2021ce

Tamybuck (Wedge Tomb)

I’d normally have some quite detailed map screenshots with me on these ventures but something happened over the last while. This was the second time in recent days when I’d forgotten to upload the feckin’ things. So even though this would be relatively easy to find, tucked in behind a wall of a small paddock about 60 metres from the road, it was like being back in the old days, relying on the OS map and a bit lost.

There’s quite a lot to see here, when you eventually find it. It’s at the east end of of a large field, west of the junction of Lisles Hill Road and Lough Road, hidden from view until you enter the field and head south-east a bit. The ground south of the gallery has been quarried, destroying the outer walling on that side. The southern inner wall of the gallery is still there, as is the northern and its outer walling.

I had only a short time here as there were cattle in the field, the kind that take a partial interest and begin a slow saunter towards you. There are many stones scattered around the gallery, possible roofstones and other orthostats. A single roofstone rests on the fill between the inner and outer walling on the northern side. I would have liked to have had a better nose around but legged it before the bovine onslaught arrived.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
4th October 2021ce

Killyglen (Standing Stone / Menhir)

There’s a small hamlet called Millbrook just before Larne, to the left off the A8 from Belfast, a handy turn off at the roundabout avoiding the town, which we’d done on the two previous occasions heading for the Glens. Why change now? Both times we’d headed up the B148 towards Cairncastle and eventually down to the coast road – this time we took a fairly swift left up into the higher ground above Sallagh Braes and into Killyglen townland to this impressive standing stone.

The views down to the coast around Larne are supposed to be fantastic but not today – it’s overcast and dull. There’s not great parking around here and the fences are barbed and tight, surprising given the land’s only really useful for sheep farming. The stone has its own platform, standing proud above the generally heathery surroundings. It’s bulbous and rugged and 2 metres tall and worth a visit, about 50 metres from the road.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
2nd October 2021ce

Mautiagh (Court Tomb)

Mautiagh – (maw-teeah – An Mháiteach [on vaw-chock] – the flooded place) townland spreads steeply north up the hill above Glenaniff valley. On the OS map there is a clear track up from the road and it’s directly aligned onto the tomb. It’s also there on the vector map at the Historic Environment Viewer, as clear as day. Go to the satellite image and it’s there too – it meanders up, zig-zagging in the lower reaches but straightens out eventually.

We knocked at the house on the road at the beginning of the track. Could we head up onto the mountain using the track at the back of your house? We want to go up to the megalithic tomb. That’s no problem, but you might struggle a bit. Understatement of the year, but sure she’s only trying to help. The track is now completely overgrown, impassable. So what to do? Nothing else for it than to head straight up through the woods, scrambling at first, then a fence appears on the right and this helps us gain the open air above the treeline.

Up here it’s all heather and bracken, our disappointing track probably a remnant from the old turf-cutting days. It’s a wilderness now, vague deer-trodden paths tempting us further and higher. We spy an old house – someone lived up here once, the track’s purpose finally revealed – imaginings of a desperate existence. There’s still a ways to go but you can feel it now.

We’ve been skirting the west side of the mountain for a while now when our objective appears, 250 metres ahead. The peat is deep here, treacherous holes hidden under pretty heather. The tomb is on more stable ground, the grey limestone of which it is made appearing like a scab on the skin of the deep brown and green environment. Our pace quickens.

There’s a large stone-wall enclosure north of the monument. Parts of its southern wall incorporate the megalithic tomb. The grave is a shattered mess, barely recognisable due to the material used in its construction being the same limestone pavement on which it lies. It looks like the tomb itself was prised up out of the ground with only a cursory plan. Looks can be deceptive. A north/south wall cuts through the cairn at the western end of what I thought was the complete tomb but as it turns out is just the eastern tomb of a dual court tomb. Over the wall, hidden in the heather, is another gallery, one I discovered back at home after the event. I’ve made this error too often lately.

Of the remains that we did see, the most prominently visible feature was the eastern court and the first two chambers of the eastern gallery. The court is now embedded in the peat, the tops of its stones peeping up and out to a max of about 30 cms. It’s wild up here and as we moped about, a handsome, brazen red fox headed south over the prow of the ridge about 50 metres away, aware of our presence but confident enough to take its time.

We’d started at the 170 contour and ended up at the 290, a paltry gain of around 120 metres, but it was a testing trek. A kilometre north of west of here is another court tomb in Shasgar – it would be a brave soul that would attempt both of these from the direction we took, or any direction for that matter.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
30th September 2021ce

Brahan Wood (Chambered Cairn)

26/09/2021 – A fine walk today. Starting from Strathpeffer, first up to the trig on Cnoc Mor, then a nice visit to Bealachnancorr chambered cairn (liked this one very much). Next we headed over the top of Cnoc a' Mhuilinn-Thairbh to see if we could find this chambered cairn in Brahan Wood. The wood is really lovely and on a sunny day like today the stroll between the two cairns was very nice indeed. There are lots of tracks in this area so take a map, easy to get a bit lost. The cairn is in a quiet area of the wood. Not too hard to find. There is not much left of the cairn, like Bealachnancorr, just the remaining stones of the chamber. Not really that tall, hiding away a little in the grass and moss. What I first thought was the passage looked too wide and more like a second chamber. This could have been a big old cairn back in the day. There’s a big stone between the two chambers and another large stone lying just outside. The cairn sits on a small terrace and would have had a wonderful view out across the land I think. It’s within a wood now and on a sunny day just looked fantastic. We plonked ourselves down beside the cairn to have our sandwiches and a brew. Bit tired as the day was warm and humid. Such a peaceful vibe to the place. Soon felt a bit sleepy. The tall grasses picking up the light from the sun, the tree tops gently moving with the light breeze, just wonderful. The ground was full of life. We daydreamed a bit and watched spiders and bugs go about their daily business. Up and over our socks and on past our discarded boots to some important destination only known to them. Even the odd wasp that went by seemed pretty chilled out today. We really had such a lovely time here. There are better cairns around but today this one and its setting felt pretty perfect to us. Finally we left to walk the quiet road round Loch Ussie to visit the wonderful vitrified fort on Knock Farril. Then back to Strathpeffer via the very nice Touchstone Maze (built in the 90's using rocks from all over Scotland. It's really well done with lots of alignments for summer, winter etc). Top day out. thelonious Posted by thelonious
28th September 2021ce

Barracashlaun (Court Tomb)

Deep in the middle of nowhere you never know what you might find. Research first before you leave, for the the place can be treacherous, but don’t delve too deep, as revelation is the better part of the process. Park up as close as you can get and once agreement is reached, vault any obstacle and scour…

Sometimes the pin is dropped in the wrong place, anticipation and frustration in equal measure – it’s fucking ‘round here somewhere. Wretched, undulating semi-bog, thistly, rushy, dank… hazel scrub that seems to deter even the sheep. What am I looking for asks my mate. It’s a court tomb, or so they say. Maybe it’s been completely removed.

Limestone pavement is spied under wild ash, elder and hawthorn. A pincer movement, me down from the north, him up from the south, is this it? Here it is. The first sight is a large stone, outlying, probable part of the eastern court, laterally placed so maybe part of a jamb-like entrance into a sacred space, its smaller match hidden beneath the tangle of grass. This solitary stone is all that remains of the northern arm of the court.

Push deeper into the small glade – you know it’s there, nettles are nothing now. Huge jambstones signal the entrance into a three-chambered gallery, everything blocky, slab-like lumps of limestone, moss-covered. The southern wall of the first two chambers of the gallery has been removed. Massive slabs of corbelling sit precariously atop the northern wall. Covered by a spindly, splayed hazel tree, the third chamber is inaccessible, the jambs separating it from the middle chamber like sentinels.

Come out south and around the back and beyond the third chamber there’s more. Another tomb in fact, the south-western, double-chambered, baby bro of this dual court tomb set. Again there’s no southern wall – the floor of the gallery here is filled-in, deeply buried in the cairn. Substantial, tiered corbelled slabs remain on the northern side, here out in the open. Maybe there’s a court beyond, back in under the dense vegetation further west, or maybe there once was.

Barracashlaun (Barr an chaisleán?, top of the castle), western, wild, partially decrepit – go to google maps and see the quarry creep ever closer. The middle of somewhere approaches.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
27th September 2021ce
Edited 28th September 2021ce

Bealachnancorr (Chambered Cairn)

26/09/2021 – Scotland has a great access code but sometimes it can be tricky finding the best path to take out of a village or town. The start of a walk can be the hardest part I think. Core paths are a great help for this. Link below to map in case it’s of use to anyone.

Map of core paths in Scotland

Straight up signposted core path from Strathpeffer to first head for Cnoc Mor then paths heading down to the chambered cairn. Route was pretty overgrown and finding the site was fun. Lots of twisty paths through the trees.

The cairn is really nice. Just the stones of the passage and chamber left. The location is good and very peaceful. We stayed for a good bit, waiting on the sun to shine. It was playing hide and seek behind the clouds this morning.

Really glad we went looking for this one. Good stones with a nice vibe. I do like an Orkney-Cromarty cairn. Missed it last time we visited the trig on Cnoc Mor. The area is fine for walking, short stroll or a full day out. Like most places, best on a sunny day, take your time if you go.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
27th September 2021ce

Nether Largie (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited 30.04.10

Nether Largie Standing Stone is located c. 150 yards NNW of the Great X of Kilmartin. The c. 5 ft tall stone had a c. 30 degree lean to the SE when I visited but it was reset to a vertical position in 2015. Canmore ID 39487 (go to Links) has pictures of the erect stone taken in 2019 in My Canmore contributions.
Posted by markj99
26th September 2021ce

Aghnacally (Wedge Tomb)

After two relative disappointments earlier in the day this was the real deal. Aghnacally (achadh na calliagh? – field of the cailleach) is on the north-western slopes of Slieve Rushen (404m) and I’d always assumed that the megalithic tomb marked on the OS map was the Aughrim tomb, uprooted and taken off to the Slieve Russel hotel. Browsing the Historic Environment Viewer at disabused me of that assumption – Aughrim is actually to the south-east of the mountain, five kilometres away.

There are a couple of ways to approach this isolated site: the difficult one that we took in Tircahan townland at H196245; the other at Drumbrughas at H207270. Either way brings you deep into the borderlands of north Cavan. I hadn’t got too many hopes for the site as the satellite photo shows heavy pine forest and an overgrown clearing. Thankfully we were in my mate Thomas’s 4X4 because after two kilometres up an ever decreasing road, then lane, then track, then forest track, I was ready to turn back. He wasn’t having any of that so on we went, up another two kilometres, through forest junctions, along overgrown tracks, deeper and deeper – this would be a pleasant day’s hike, the track beside the tomb leading up onto the top of the mountain.

All of the plantation trees in the vicinity of the tomb are felled, but the small, unplanted enclosure where it lies is overgrown. This is no bad thing with the vegetation deepening the mystery and enfolding the tomb in a magical atmosphere. However, there are vague trails here – we’re not the only visitors seeking out ancient knowledge. And then there it is, hidden among some stray pines and lots of summer grasses, what on first sight looks like a tumbledown wreck, but on further investigation reveals itself to be a fine wedge tomb.

Open at its south-west end, closed by a backstone at the north-east, with a much intact, covered chamber in between, this, at times infuriatingly overgrown, monument is, to use a well-worn cliché, a hidden gem. The split roofstone covers most of the gallery, just the westernmost sidestone of the northern wall jutting out beyond to the front of the tomb. Hunkering down, the cozy interior of the gallery looked inviting in a maybe-once-upon-a-time sort of way, but not now, thanks all the same. Sunshine intermittently broke through and lit the floor of the fern and clover-floored sepulchre.

There’s classic outer walling and some cairn here too but it’s all pretty much buried in the detritus and mulch. This is not an easy site to peruse – you’re in danger of falling down through some hidden void and spraining an ankle – but it’s well worth the hassle, the rugged structure revealing itself slowly, surviving down through the ages. It’s the type of place you don’t want to leave, a place where maybe, once in a blue moon, you might meet a stranger in search of an answer to an unspoken question.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
25th September 2021ce

Cnoc A' Chuirn Mhoir (Kerbed Cairn)

Cnoc A' Chuirn Mhoir - Hill Of The Big Cairn, is the perfect description for this site which is 200m south of the summit.

The minor road ends at Lealt with a small car park, an information board and signpost indicating the distance to places further north (distances in miles).

Barnhill 1984
Kinauchdrachd 5
Corryvreckan 7

However our first site of the day would be the 17m by 1m kerb cairn. It is set in a truly spectacular location. The hill of the same name to the north, clear views over the Sound of Jura to the Scotland's mainland. There are kerbs on the west side, under the heather there are kerbs on the north. Despite the remoteness, plenty people lived here in the past and there is some evidence of this as some stone rubble was dumped on the north part of the site.

From Lealt follow the track north until the deer fence veers north east. Follow this and it will lead straight to the cairn. This is the proper way, unfortunately for me I headed cross country from the track heading east as a bridge in the distance came into view. Unfortunately for me as I made my way across the valley I found out why there was a bridge as I promptly walked straight into the Allt a Chuirn Mhoir burn.

Nothing deterred from the site - stunning!

Visited 28/07/2021.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
25th September 2021ce

Cranaghan (Slieve Russel Hotel, present location) (Wedge Tomb)

Visiting this is a slightly awkward pleasure: thoughts of the absolute arrogance of digging it up and transferring it to your hotel and golf club and using it as a massively ignored decorative afterthought so you can continue to quarry out the side of the mountain on which it rested, weighed up against the desire to see it, check on it, maybe mourn it a bit.

It’s the monument that most points up the angst that sometimes accompanies me on my pursuit of these monuments. That pursuit has been made multiple times easier by the mapping system at both the Historic Environment Map Viewer in the north and the similar system at in the south. The wealth and depth of information available at these websites almost makes anything I do here redundant. Almost… because as we all know, these monuments need looking after, a task the authorities are not always too keen to pursue. Who said it here? “Progress was fine, but it went on too long.”

So in our need for economic progress we’re sometimes quite prepared to demolish what we once were. Precious funerary monuments from 3,500 years ago are deemed expendable and the safety blanket of ‘preservation by record’ is used to register their destruction. What happens the stones after? It seems that they’re then put in storage, the report is written up and we move on. Or as has happened here, permission is given to reconstruct away from the original site. On reflection, even the very notion of a visit here being an acceptable alternative to seeing it in its original place is contemptible. To do so is to almost acquiesce in a process that one finds hugely problematic. Almost…

So what’s it like anyway? Well it seems that it was in a fairly ruined condition before the excavations in 1992, and no matter what what was done, actually replicating what was found would be impossible. Three cists were found in the cairn, none of which are noticeable now. The structural stones of the chamber/gallery are quite tall, almost head height and there’s a lintel-like roofstone midway along. I get the feeling that the stones weren’t socketed as deep as they would have been in the original. Ivy is being allowed to grow over the stones making examination more difficult.

Overall the impression I get is that the excavators were quite diligent, but, once the initial task was completed, that was that. Mr. Quinn could continue his quarrying, his hotel has a garden ornament and life went on. But the story didn’t fully end there. For an alternative history, see the link in the folklore below.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
25th September 2021ce

Doon (Court Tomb)

Doon is one of those sites that would have you asking “why bother?” Practically destroyed beyond all recognition and shamelessly overgrown to the point where you wonder if there’s anything there that remotely resembles a recognisable megalith.

Here’s the Cavan Inventory entry: “Court tomb – Situated in rolling countryside just N of Ballyconnell. This is a dual court tomb set in a long cairn. It is somewhat overgrown by trees and bushes. Two galleries, set back to back, are both 9m long, and each is divided by jambs into three chambers. They are likely to have shared a backstone but this is lacking. Eleven stones remain along the combined N sides of the galleries and seven along the south sides. There is a single courtstone just beyond the southern entrance jamb of the SW gallery and another about 2.5m from the south side of the NE gallery.” And that’s it. Which is quite substantial in comparison to some sites I’ve seen, but seemingly not substantial enough to have found its way into the Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland, which is neither here nor there really, but I’d like to see a plan of what’s there and maybe come back in winter when the vegetation is less rampant.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
25th September 2021ce

Bridgend (Hillfort)

Take the road the leads east just to the north of the hotel and as the land flattens out climb over the gate into the field. This field is immediately behind the hotel. Sadly there isn't much to see except for natural defences on the west.

However, placed to the south of the River Sorn, it would have been a great vantage point.

Head back to ferry to Jura time.

Visited 27/07/2021.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
24th September 2021ce

Rockside (Stone Fort / Dun)

Sometimes my job, my favourite drink and prehistory all occasionally collide, sometimes unintentionally.

On a previous visit to Islay I'd visited The Oa with its American Monument (erected after the tragic events during 1918), this time to complete research for a new album I'd visited the Kilchoman Military cemetery, overlooking Machir Bay, scene of another tragedy. On leaving the cemetery I, of course, had to visit the local distillery to sample some of the local holy water.

Just to west of the distillery's car park there is Rockside Dun, one of many prehistoric sites in the area.

The most likely entrance is to the south east of the 30m by 10m site. Not much remains of the ramparts apart from some fallen stone all round the wee hill, 6m high, that is overlooked by some serious looking cliffs.

Great wee site, the local drink would be sampled later on Jura.

Visited 28/07/2021.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
24th September 2021ce

Crouck (Chambered Tomb)

So you’re not going to get much attention when 150 metres north-east up the hill is the wonder of Dún Ruadh, but hang on in there – there’s bound to be a nerdy old completist goon arriving soon in the next millennia or so. Absolutely underwhelming to my companion, especially after I had waxed lyrical about what was to come on the long drive up into deepest, darkest, wonderful mid-Tyrone, I loved this little assemblage of 5 stones, 4 still in situ, almost certainly the remains of a megalithic tomb. What type? I said probably a wedge tomb while on site, but now, on reflection, I’m thinking the remains of the chamber of a court tomb. But who knows? A starter to whet the appetite for the red fort up the hill. ryaner Posted by ryaner
21st September 2021ce

Tordarroch (Clava Cairn)

Grrrr....! It's happened again. After somehow failing four years ago to locate the turning off the B-whatever it is this time I take a chance despite the 'road ahead closed' sign and as soon as I spot the small whitewashed church to my left I know I'm in the right place so I park there rather than risk driving on and finding my way barred at a tight turning-spot in this narrow lane. I soon see the monument away to my right but between it and me is a field containing what looks like a very large Highland bull. Fortunately by walking on a bit I find a gate into another field free of cattle and by following the right-hand edge (yes, I had read Gladman's very helpful fieldnotes) I attain my objective. It's horrendously overgrown (cf Torbreck/Lundin Farm/Gunnerkeld/Lamlash of my previous experience) as well as too-tightly fenced-in but I try hard to rein in any disappointment. I don't necessarily want every site I visit to be meticulously tended but it's just hard to reconcile what I'm looking at with the expectations garnered from most of the pictures posted here. Ah well, I'm pleased to have seen it but I leave with the wish that the landowner could spare a bit of effort better to maintain this precious relic. ironstone Posted by ironstone
20th September 2021ce

Vicars Carn (Cairn(s))

Did you ever imagine a place and when you got there it was nothing like you imagined? Well, this was one of those places. Absolutely nothing like I imagined, which is no bad thing, because the surprises were a good enough consolation. I had to do a delivery near Ardee, maybe 60 kms south of here and just thought that I’d take in a few of the lesser known sites in the Louth, Monaghan, Armagh area and finish up here.

Ah, the best laid plans etc. All of the sites bar this were either no longer there, the fields were under crops or they were obscured by such a tangle of vegetation as to be unrecognisable. So I pushed on, crossing the Monaghan/Armagh border at Drumnart. Nearby at Doohat is a standing stone but I was moving fast and previous disappointments didn’t instil confidence enough to stop.

Through Keady and towards Markethill then north over the dam at Seagahan, a sharp right turn and then the third turn on the left, up to the prominence with the cairn. It’s all fairly rich farmland in the vicinity and the road scarps along the cairn on it eastern side. The northern part of the cairn has been robbed and the decorated stones that were reported in the 1700s are not to be found, but still it rises to about 4 metres from ground level at the south.

The views from on top of the cairn would be panoramic all around except the eastern aspect is blocked by trees. I stayed a while here in the sunshine, drinking in the summer buzz and lost for a while away from the mundanity. Then a local farmer woman happened along with her daughter and asked if I might move my car as her husband was moving cattle up the road soon and the spell was broken. Nice people, but I didn’t stick around as I was more than welcome to do.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
19th September 2021ce
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