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

County Tyrone: Latest Posts

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Altdrumman (Portal Tomb) — Fieldnotes

North of Loughmacrory town, and the lake itself, and along an accessible road that turns into a track, this is a mad arrangement of stones. 100 metres into the field from the gate it's right beside the rock outcrop from whence it probably came.

It's nearest comparison is the Labby Rock in Carrickglass in Sligo, another monster capstone over small supporting stones. It looks like it was a rush job but on closer inspection it's quite cleverly arranged. The tallest of the supporting stones is the backstone, but this is tilted inwards into the chamber, lowering its peak and tilting the capstone from front to rear off the portals, neatly distributing the weight.

The outcrop is being colonised by gorse and the views front-on at the portals are disappearing. There was a large amount of cattle off in the distance in the large field that contains the tomb. On their approach we decided to leave a little sooner than we would have liked to.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
19th September 2020ce

Loughmacrory II (Court Tomb) — Fieldnotes

This looks wonderful from over the fence, the mound/long cairn still remaining with an almost complete kerb/revetment, said to be several courses high in places. The court end, at the east and beside the road, is overgrown at this time of the year and we couldn't explore more because of livestock in the field. Awesome looking monument. ryaner Posted by ryaner
19th September 2020ce

Loughmacrory I (Wedge Tomb) — Fieldnotes

There's a farm track that heads west from the road to within 100 metres of this one. You then have to navigate 2 gates to get into the field with the tomb. I disturbed a grazing hare as I approached. I got as much a fright as he, but after a brief frozen second or so he scarpered off up the field, only to seek shelter in the chamber of my destination.

I arrived at the back, eastern end of the tomb and out he popped, legging it back in the direction from whence we came. I often meet wildlife on my travels but have yet to be quick enough to video the encounter. I stumbled to within touching distance of a sleeping fawn a while back in Glendalough. I'd taken my eye off it for a split second and by the time I'd got my phone out of my pocket it had legged it off up the river bank and away. I know I don't pose any threat to the animals, but they don't know that.

There is much of this smallish tomb left. The chamber is complete and still has its roofstones. However, the western portico is wrecked, its collapsed roofstone resting on a southern entrance upright. The stones are all granite and bulkier that is normal in wedge tombs. The roofstone over the back of the chamber seems to be upside-down, its flat, worked side facing up.

The field is low-quality pastureage and the area around the tomb is well-trodden. Some of the stones in the vicinity look to be dumped field-clearance. It's still worth a look in this megalith-rich area.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
19th September 2020ce

Loughmacrory III (Wedge Tomb) — Fieldnotes

It's about 30 kilometres from Omagh to Cookstown. Packed between the two towns either side of the A505, throughout the south Sperrins, there is one of the densest collections of megalithics in Ireland. Many are marked on the OS maps, many are not. This one is and it's right beside the road.

It's rare to see such a complete wedge tomb. Aghamore in Leitrim is one but what a trek that was. This was easy. Judging by the previous photos here, the thorn tree that is now colonising the bank between the northern outer-walling and the chamber walling seems to be collapsing under its own weight after a few years of vigorous growth. It's also affecting the tomb structure but I can't see anyone doing anything about that.

Both sides of the tomb retain their double walling. Most of the roofstones remain. The tomb is embedded in much of its surrounding cairn. It's not very tall, the height from the floor of the western portico to its roof little over a metre. However, there does seem to be an amount of rubble that has fallen in here. The floor of the sealed chamber seems to be a little lower than that of the portico but still above the ground level of the surrounding field.

I could have stayed here a lot longer than I did. It's a fascinating and beautiful site on the north-western slopes of Loughmacrory Hill, the views north-west to the higher hills of the western Sperrins quite beautiful.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
19th September 2020ce

Cloghmore (Court Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Having been spoiled earlier in the day with some almost intact tombs, this was a bit of a let-down, especially when it has its own name marked on most maps instead of the usual 'chambered grave'.

It's about 15 metres above the road and visible from the field gate. Most of the stones are low lying, except the one in the adjoining field, but that may not be part of the tomb.

The remains of a court are to the east, with a fine backstone to the west delineating the extent of its footprint. Very little of the chamber/s still exists. However, there are stones further to the west in the adjoining field that may have been part of the original tomb or may have been extensions. One in particular seem to be the capstone of a cist, or could be a displaced roofstone.

Another one for the completists unless you are driving and have time to spare.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
18th September 2020ce

Broughderg (Court Tomb) — Fieldnotes

There's much to see in Broughderg townland, Dun Ruadh is close by, but this was the last site of a busy day. We'd been at Cloghmore down the road by the time we arrived at this roadside tomb and it was only as we passed by that we realised it was there. It's marked on some maps and there's another, seemingly finer tomb just 400 metres north-west up the road.

But here we were, once again leaping a fence, and not too sure what we were looking at. It turns out that this is probably the remains of a dual-court tomb. It's now being inundated by the surrounding bog. The stones nearest the road are the remains of an eastern court but you'd never tell with most of them drowning in the rushes. The same goes for the western court.

There are said to be some stones remaining from the chambers but I didn't feel up to rooting around in the mulch. The wildness of the locality here in the south Sperrins shows much promise for the more isolated places further north. I'll be back.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
17th September 2020ce

Broughderg (Court Tomb) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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17th September 2020ce
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