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


County Antrim

Sites/Groups in this region:

Antynanum Standing Stones
5 posts
Ballin Tagart (Reconstruction) Court Tomb
3 posts
Ballycleagh Standing Stones
5 posts
Ballygomartin Standing Stone / Menhir
5 posts
Ballylig Standing Stone / Menhir
3 posts
Ballylumford Passage Grave
14 posts
Ballymacaldrack Court Tomb
6 posts
Ballynagloch Standing Stones
9 posts
Ballyvennaght Portal Tomb
4 posts
Ballyvennaght Cairn(s)
5 posts
Breen Standing Stone / Menhir
2 posts
Carnanmore Passage Grave
1 post
Carncome Standing Stone / Menhir
4 posts
Cave Hill Cairn(s)
8 posts
Cloghafadd Court Tomb
4 posts
Clough Berragh Standing Stone / Menhir
2 posts
Coolanlough Wedge Tomb
4 posts
Corvally Standing Stone / Menhir
Craigarogan Passage Grave
5 posts
Craigs Court Tomb
9 posts
Craigs Lower Passage Grave
Craigywarren Standing Stone / Menhir
Cushendun Caravan Park Standing Stone / Menhir
2 posts
Glenmakeerin Court Tomb
Goakstown Standing Stone / Menhir
1 post
Goakstown Wedge Tomb
10 posts
The Hole Stone Holed Stone
Killyglen Standing Stone / Menhir
Kilmakee Cairn(s)
4 posts
Knocklayd Cairn(s)
Lisnamanny Standing Stones
6 posts
Loughguile Standing Stone / Menhir
4 posts
Lough-na-Cranagh Crannog
13 posts
Magheraboy Passage Grave
5 posts
McArt's Fort Promontory Fort
10 posts
Ossian's Grave Court Tomb
Scotchomerbane Standing Stone / Menhir
Skerries West Standing Stone / Menhir
The Three Brothers Stone Row / Alignment
Ticloy Portal Tomb
5 posts
Tober-bile Standing Stone / Menhir
Tobergill Stone Circle
6 posts
West Torr Passage Grave
2 posts
The Witches' Stone Bullaun Stone


Add news Add news
Bronze Age man's burial site unearthed

Human remains dating back almost 4,000 years have been uncovered on Rathlin Island off the County Antrim coast

More details from the BBC here.
Hob Posted by Hob
6th February 2006ce

Toome Artefacts to go on Display?

Rosie Cowan, Ireland correspondent
Monday January 13, 2003
The Guardian

Road excavations in Northern Ireland have unearthed what appears to be evidence of the island's earliest settlers and first farmers... continues...
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
13th January 2003ce
Edited 15th March 2004ce

Artefacts Unearthed at Toome Bypass Excavations

Blades and pottery unearthed during work on the new Toome Bypass reveal invaluable information about the lives of ancient peoples, according to archaeologists who have examined the artefacts... continues...
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th January 2003ce
Edited 15th March 2004ce

Images (click to view fullsize)

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<b>County Antrim</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>County Antrim</b>Posted by Howburn Digger


Add folklore Add folklore
Mr. W. J. Knowles, M.R.I.A., secretary for county Antrim to the Council of the present Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, states that he knew instances where the posessor of a few flint implements refused to part with them, as he found it more profitable to hire them out to neighbours, for the purpose of curing cattle, than it would be to sell them. Theis writer also remarks that, in reference to the employment of flint arrow-heads and spear-heads in curing cattle, he received recently an account from an aged man, who lives not far from Ballymena, of how the ceremony of cattle-curing was carried on in his young days:-

"He had a neighbour, a very respectable farmer, who was a cow-doctor, and who had a considerable number of beautiful flint arrow-heads, by means of which he effected cures in the case of cattle which were ill. This cow-doctor invariably found that the animal was either 'elf-shot' or 'dinted,' or it might be suffering from both troubles. When 'elf-shot,' I suspect the arrow had pierced the hide; and when 'dinted,' I imagine there was only an indentation, which the doctor could feel as easily as the holes. When he was called in to see a cow which was ill, he would feel the hide all over, and find, or pretend to find, holes or indentations, and would call on anyone present to feel them. He would then assure the owner that he would very soon cure the cow. My informant told me that the man's usual expression when he found the holes was, in his own local language, 'Begor, we hae found the boy noo,' meaning that he had found the cause of the beast's ailment. Some gruel would now have to be prepared, into which he would put a few of his arrow-heads, a piece of silver, usually a sixpence, and he would also add some sooty matter which he had previously scraped from the bottom of the pot. When all had been boiled well together, and was ready for use, he would take a mouthful and blow it into the animal's ears, another mouthful and blow it over her back, and then he would give the remainder to the cow to drink, and would go away, assuring the owner that she would soon be better. I understand he was generally successful in effecting cures, and was held in high estimation as a cow-doctor. My informant said he was often sent for by Lord Mountcashel's agent, when he lived in Galgorm Castle, to prescribe for cattle which were ill. There must, however, have been sceptics in those days, as I am told that the poor cow-doctor was often jocularly asked to examine a cow that was in perfectly good health, and that there was considerable merriment when he pronounced her to be both 'elf-shot' and 'dinted'. "
From Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland' by W.G. Wood-Martin (1902).

An interesting section follows about the market in passing off faked arrow-heads as the real thing.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
4th December 2012ce
Edited 4th December 2012ce

Latest posts for County Antrim

Showing 1-10 of 172 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

Cave Hill (Cairn(s)) — Folklore

Belfast without the Cave Hill, the Cave Hill without Belfast: Killarney without its lakes: the causeway without guides or specimens. We love the old mountain still, but the attention which was paid it in days of yore has ceased, I am afraid, for ever. The al fresco feasts, the joyous junketings, and the explorations of its wonderful caves no longer take place on its breezy slopes. Time was, and not so long ago, when the Cave Hill was famous for its Easter Monday revellings. The vicinity was thronged with country cousins, who gazed with awe at the Corsican's Head or scaled the dizzy height towards McArt's Fort [...]

A few years ago, when a local geologist discovered a marvellous diamond - a ponderous stone which weighed pounds avoirdupois instead of orthodox carats - I thought it would boom the Cave Hill into activity again. This matchless diamond was stated at the time to be a relic of Finn McCoul, the head of his breastpin in fact, but personally I do not believe the giant cared for, or wore such an adornment as a breastpin. I don't believe he even wore a waistcoat [...]
In the Belfast Telegraph, 18th June 1891.
In fact, you can see a picture of the gem on the Culture Northern Ireland website, with lots more details. It's not really a diamond but quartz, and quartz isn't even part of the geology here. So what its true history is, is anyone's guess.

The Hill is also the legendary location of gold:
One might have supposed that a belief in magic and spells and fairies had all died away, and that in this very vulgar and materialistic and somewhat sceptical age, none could have been found, at least in this part of Ulster, to credit the tales of our grandmothers, and to act upon them. But there are some good people in Sandy-row who still retain the elder faith on these subjects - and, if works can prove the sincerity of conviction, theirs must be very sincere indeed. [...]

It is not gold, scattered about in dust or even in "nuggests," which formed the object of this search, but compactly laid up in chests - deposited, as the fairy records say, upon the summit of the "hill" by the Danes, in those days when they were compelled to make a hasty retreat from this part of the isle.

More than once have these gold-seekers struck upon these iron chests, but, just at that moment, the propitious influence was absent, and a kind of mysterious darkness and confusion fell upon their eyes. They believe, too, they heard a voice - "procul, o procul este profani" of the ancients. However this be, the chests still remain precisely where the Danes placed them, and these indefatigable Sandy-rowites are, at the present time, making inquiry, far and wide, for the seventh son of a seventh son, gifted with seventh sight, and possessing the power, as the legends tell, to take off the spell which has for ages rested upon this gold.

[...] You must not suppose that I am calling upon my imagination in this narrative. I give you the facts in my own way, it is true, but in substance exactly as I learned them from a person most intimately connected with one of these gold-seekers. [...]
The Reverend W.M. O'Hanlon isn't very happy because "the persons engaged in it have abjured religion, and deem those members of their family who know aught of Christianity as serious obstacles in the way of their success, because 'the spirits of the vasty deep' cannot come so freely where these are."
In an article in the Northern Whig, 2nd October 1852.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st January 2020ce

Cave Hill (Cairn(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Cave Hill</b>Posted by thelonious<b>Cave Hill</b>Posted by thelonious thelonious Posted by thelonious
30th December 2019ce

Cave Hill (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

28/12/2019 – Grassed over cairn on summit of Cave Hill. Small hole in the middle. It’s a decent sized cairn with fine views. thelonious Posted by thelonious
30th December 2019ce

McArt's Fort (Promontory Fort) — Images

<b>McArt's Fort</b>Posted by thelonious<b>McArt's Fort</b>Posted by thelonious<b>McArt's Fort</b>Posted by thelonious<b>McArt's Fort</b>Posted by thelonious thelonious Posted by thelonious
30th December 2019ce

McArt's Fort (Promontory Fort) — Fieldnotes

28/12/2019 – Nice walk up from Cave Hill Country Park. Not too long but a little steep in sections. Excellent place for a fort. McArt’s fort is on a rocky promontory protected by steep sides and a bank and ditch. The views across Belfast to the far distance hills are worth the walk alone. The hill is basalt and reminded me a lot of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. Great place.

The profile of Cave Hill is thought maybe to have inspired Jonathan Swift to write Gulliver’s Travels. Resembling a sleeping giant.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
30th December 2019ce

Ballygomartin (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Ballygomartin</b>Posted by thelonious thelonious Posted by thelonious
29th December 2019ce
Showing 1-10 of 172 posts. Most recent first | Next 10