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


Passage Grave


The peculiarities of the placement of passage tombs are particularly perplexing. Joking aside, if there is another as phenomenal as this I’ll be flabbergasted. Set 40 metres back from cliffs that are 150 metres above the channel that separates Fair Head from Rue Point on the southern tip of Rathlin Island 4 kilometres to the north, this is megalithic Antrim at its finest.

Towards the back end of this seemingly endless pandemic, we’re on our second visit to north-east Antrim in as many weeks. Six hour round-trips from Dublin are best enjoyed in the summer months and here we were in early August, the season fallen 6 weeks ago. The week previous the sun had been splitting the stones – not so today – low cloud skittered here and there as we tried to cram in as much as possible, not sure whether we’d manage another return trip.

Fair Head car park is situated in a farmyard about 500 metres south-east of the tomb. It’s a paid car park with an honesty box. The couple of quid we spent was well worth it – the car park is a trail-head for a series of walks around the head and the signage was educational and helpful. The walk up to the tomb is a mixture of road and then across rocky pasture with some well maintained stiles. Doonmore Fort is an interesting feature 300 metres along the lane, probable remains of a Norman motte. Beyond this Rathlin peeps over the horizon.

Arriving in the vicinity of the tomb I spotted the low circular cairn. The satellite map at the NISMR came in handy – this wouldn’t be easiest to find without it. The passage and chamber are small, but very well defined. The passage faces north, aligned onto Rathlin. The short walk to the edge of the cliff and the truly breathtaking view down to the sea and then across to the island is close to the finest memory I had on what turned out to be 4 trips to Antrim. The monument, though slight in comparison to some, is still one of those that tugs at the heartstrings, a reminder of what we once were, situated there quite lonely, ignored by most, waiting on you to rediscover and appreciate it. Stunning.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
19th September 2021ce

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