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Court Tomb

<b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by bogmanImage © Charles Coughlan
OS Ref (GB):   H643750 / Sheet: 13
Latitude:54° 37' 8.46" N
Longitude:   7° 0' 16.26" W

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Photographs:<b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by ryaner <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by A R Cane <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by bogman <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by bogman <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by bogman <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by Kammer <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by megaman <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by greywether <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by greywether Maps / Plans / Diagrams:<b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by bogman Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by CianMcLiam <b>Creggandevesky</b>Posted by Kammer


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I decided that we’d try Megaman’s approach to Creggandevesky – it seemingly avoids all the mud and treachery of the Lough Mallon way. Also, there is the remains of a supposed wedge tomb on the way down the lane. In the end this way is barred, ‘the very end of the road’ as Megaman suggests is actually someone’s driveway. We asked a friendly local and he recommended us not taking that route anyway, the Jersey bull in the field nearby being an even hardier deterrent. And then there was the weather – horizontal rain stinging our faces on the way back up to the car, I said to Paulie – yer man must think we’re a right pair of gobshites.

Our first foray had pretty much softened our cough as we pulled into the the side of the road beside the waterworks. There’s nothing like a drenching to take all the excitement out of a day out. I did get to the aforementioned wedge tomb, but the last time we were here at this spot I had to leg it back to Dublin because of a Covid emergency. And I wasn’t feeling too optimistic now. But hey, people here know what happens when you have that hunger and then I spotted the kissing gate between the first and second field and knew I was on the right track.

(A little aside here: In Creggandevesky townland there is a sign for Cregganconroe court tomb at the T-junction. There are no other signs of any description around that I could see. Coincidentally, in Cregganconroe, at the T-junction, there’s a fancy sign for Creggandevesky court tomb, and nothing for the local tomb that I could find. I couldn’t help feeling that the local burghers of both townlands don’t want the likes of you or I traipsing around the locality and would much prefer if you would fuck off 2 miles up the road to the other site. Nifty plan and seems to go against the reports of the Creggandevesky landowners pride in their monument, so I could be wrong, but experiences at Cregganconroe later in the day told me I’m not.)

In the pelting rain we set off on the southern route around the lake. It would be a nice trek in mild conditions, maybe a little soggy here and there, but there was precious little pleasure to be had getting lashed on. The tomb sits atop a small esker, part of which on the lake-side has been quarried for gravel. Much of the land in the vicinity has been altered, reclaimed, improved, and so here. As with a lot of the tombs in the north that are in state care, this one is fenced in and the fence is way too tight onto the monument. It seems that the compulsory purchase orders of these sites never take into account their visual contexts.

Despite the fence, Creggandevesky court tomb is really rather beautiful, the excavation and reconstruction/restoration leaving us with a near perfect example of its kind. Its construction reminded me of Annaghmare in South Armagh with its mixture of orthostats and dry-stone walling. However, the stones in the court here are much bulkier, the facade stones of the court the largest of the tomb, giving the whole construction a wedge shape as it tapers downwards along the gallery towards the rear.

Except for the wind and rain – all I could do was duck under the fantastic entrance lintel and crouch down beside the northern sidestones of the first chamber – I was really enjoying myself. With a bit of half-decent weather this would be a nice spot to pass a few hours, Lough Mallon offering a serene backdrop.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
25th May 2021ce
Edited 15th June 2021ce

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. A R Cane Posted by A R Cane
12th July 2013ce

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. Posted by megaman
17th July 2007ce

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.
CianMcLiam Posted by CianMcLiam
18th September 2006ce
Edited 18th September 2006ce

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.
Kammer Posted by Kammer
30th June 2004ce
Edited 17th July 2004ce

Creggandevesky (Stony place of black water) court tomb lies on the west of Lough Mallon. It has been restored after excavation between 1979 and 1982.

To access it, park on the road running E of Lough Mallon and take the path which skirts S of the lough.

The court and three-chamber gallery (opening to the SE) are impressive. The lintel over the gallery entrance is still in position (with a little help!).
greywether Posted by greywether
2nd January 2004ce


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Creggandevesky means 'Creggan Duibh Uisce' or in English, 'The Stony Place of the Black Water' CianMcLiam Posted by CianMcLiam
3rd January 2007ce


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Comprehensive report on the 1979-1982 excavation.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
25th May 2021ce

Video clip of Creggandevesky court tomb

bogman Posted by bogman
22nd June 2011ce


Map showing the location of Creggandevesky.
greywether Posted by greywether
2nd January 2004ce
Edited 29th June 2004ce