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

Fieldnotes by Fionnchu

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Ossian's Grave (Court Tomb)

My family and I visited this site in the summer of 2002ce. The path up from the main Ballymoney-Cushendall road is very steep, with a sharp right angled turn on a very narrow unpaved ascent bounded by hedges and fences, too destructive of the environment to negotiate by car. I'd recommend walking up after parking in front of the house directly off the road. It's easy to miss the sign coming out of Cushendall, so drive slowly the mile or so up into the hills from the village.

I've cannot confirm whether the Ulster poet John Hewitt is in fact buried beneath the commemorative cairn at his beloved vista. There was no "official" information posted at the site when we visited. Harbison (p. 40) calls the "grave" a "neolithic court-tomb with a forecourt of low stones facing south-eastwards and giving access to a two-chambered gallery placed in an ill-defined oval mound."

However, the views are magnificent, the (ca. 2000bce--Donnelly; 3000bce--Harbison) horned cairn handsome in its simple setting, and the quest rewarding, even if Ossian's legend occurred long after the site's actual establishment. The townland, Lubitavish, "loop of pleasure" nestles in Glenaan, one of Antrim's nine glens, on the Dall river.

South of this, Lurigethan, (Lurigeadan=Luragh Eadan, "brow of the long ridge,") the fabled site of giants, continues associations; Ossian's father, Finn MacCool, lived among the other Fianna in its cave, Lig-na-Fenia.


Maureen Donnelly. The Nine Glens. rev. ed. Coleraine & Ballycastle: Impact Printing, 2000.

Peter Harbison. Guide to National and Historic Monuments of Ireland. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1992.

Robert Sharpe & Charles McAlister. A Glimpse of Glenariffe. Glenariffe, Co Antrim: McAlister & Sharpe, 1997.
Longtime fan of Cope (and Echo); bought the Modern Antiquarian with money from my 40th b-day party! Been studying Irish language and literature since before college. Earned a PhD (UCLA, Medieval English Literature) with a diss. on the idea of purgatory. Fascinated by "liminal" realms between heaven and hell as expressed in popular cultures, ancient and modern.

In an idiosyncratic (aren't they all?) 1927 account of Roscommon county and mid-Connacht environs by Fr PA Sharkey, "The Heart of Ireland," the good priest mentions that my mother's mother's family, Connellan, were among those direct descendants of Ono (no relation to Yoko), a druid from 300ce.

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