Visits For March, 2008

Sunday, 2nd March 2008

All Hail (In) Antrim

What a day! It rained a little bit after I'd passed Belfast, but it wasn't much. I certainly wasn't expecting the hail and snow I got at the top of Knocklayd Mountain! Amazingly, there was a group of people climbing up it, too. Hello to you if you come across this.

As usual I had a list of sites to see, but (as usual lately) rain late in the day stopped my site-seeing. I did manage to get to a few new sites and revisit a couple of others to take another look at them. One of these revisits was to the two portal tombs at Ballyvennaght on the way to the nearby standing stone. The other sites included the cairn on top of Knocklayd, two stone pairs and a court tomb. The latter, Carndoo at Ballyboley, was particularly interesting, because although the court is ruined the gallery still has much of its roof - a real rarity.

As soon as I've finished adding last week's images I'll pop the new Seasick Steve CD on to play and get on with writing this trip up properly.

Work on Monu-Mental About Prehistoric Antrim is on schedule, so a mid to late summer release is looking likely! It'll soon be time to start on the fourth book, which will cover a county from Connaght, but I still don't know which one yet.

Carn-na-Truagh - Tavnaghboy (Co. Antrim)Cairn3 New Images
Ballynagloch - Ballynaglogh (Co. Antrim)Stone Pair3 New Images
Cloughananca - Ballyvennaght (Co. Antrim)Portal Tomb8 New Images
Ballyvennaght (Co. Antrim)Standing Stone7 New Images
Ballycleagh (Co. Antrim)Stone Pair5 New Images
Carndoo - Ballyboley (Co. Antrim)Court Tomb4 New Images

Sunday, 9th March 2008

A Bit Pushed For Time

I didn't have a lot of time this week for going out, so once again I headed down to Wicklow to hunt down a couple of things. I managed to locate another bullaun stone and a cup-marked stone - I actually thought I was looking for a bullaun stone, but it turned out to be a cup-marked stone with a possible bullaun in it.

The bullaun stone I did find is a lovely one, but it's in a reservoir and so a bit tricky to see properly. A bit of shallow wading and then a climb up a nearby tree allowed me a limited view, but I'll have to go back in the summer when the water's a bit lower to take a better look.

I've managed to catch up on all the images from my previous trips now and I'll get these two sites up as soon as possible. I've also updated the Google Earth .KMZ files, so all sites up to this weekend's trip are available.

As before, work on Monu-Mental About Prehistoric Antrim is on schedule, so a mid to late summer release is looking likely!

Knocktemple (Co. Wicklow)Bullaun Stone3 New Images
Ticlash (Co. Wicklow)Rock Art5 New Images

Sunday, 16th March 2008

The Standing Stones of Knocklayd

Today is the first day of a two day trip to Antrim. Most of the day was spent around Knocklayd Mountain visiting the standing stone and early Christian remains. I didn't reach all of the standing stones around this fine mountain, but I did see the majority of them. One more trip and I should get to see the rest.

After encircling Knocklayd I headed off to see a few more sites of interest. One of these was Skerry church, which is perched on top of a high rocky outcrop. It is from this place that St. Patrick is said to have tried to step on to the top of Slemish Mountain to the east. He failed to do so and landed in the river below. He is said to have left a footprint at Skerry and one in a stone in the river. Below Skerry church I tracked down the remains of a court tomb, which until now was considered destroyed and lost.

I spent the night at The Causeway Hotel, right next to the Giant's Causeway visitor centre. This gave me the rare chance to visit the Causeway after most of the other visitors had left. When devoid of packs of tourists it is an incredible wonder to behold!

Corvally (Co. Antrim)Standing Stone4 New Images
Tullaghore (Co. Antrim)Cross Pillar5 New Images
Monanclogh (Co. Antrim)Standing Stone4 New Images
Toberbile (Co. Antrim)Standing Stone5 New Images
Turraloskin (Co. Antrim)Cross Pillar3 New Images
Broughanlea (Co. Antrim)Cross Pillar3 New Images
White Park (Co. Antrim)Cairn6 New Images
Ballycraig (Co. Antrim)Standing Stone2 New Images
Townend (Co. Antrim)Standing Stone5 New Images
Skerry (Co. Antrim)Church3 New Images
Loughconnelly (Co. Antrim)Court Tomb2 New Images

Monday, 17th March 2008

Some Hilltops and Then Home

After staying the night in Bushmills, County Antrim, I set off to revisit a few sites and take in a few new ones if I could. The weather was brilliant and there are a few sites I'd only been to in poor weather, so these were top of my list. I revisited the ruined passage tomb at West Torr (County Antrim) and walked back up to the lovely passage tomb at Carnanmore (County Antrim), before going to the court tomb at Lubitavish (see Ossian's Grave (County Antrim)). This took me very close to the very important axe factory on Tievebulliagh. It took me a while to find out who owned the land here and get permission to walk up the hill, so this is where my day ended.

Moving on ...
I'm writing this day up very late indeed. On 19th March many of you will have seen myself on RTEs Nationwide program. This website has been buzzing ever since. I really appreciate the comments I've been getting from lots and lots of people! The next step is to convince RTE that they would like to do a small series about Ireland's amazing prehistoric heritage that is a bit more serious and in depth than some of the recent attempts that have been made.

So, many thanks to everyone for you support and kind words! I feel re-invigorated and inspired to get out there and do more. I'm charging through Monu-Mental About Prehistoric Antrim at a good pace, so a summer publication date is looking likely.

West Torr (Co. Antrim)Passage Tomb8 New Images
Carnanmore - East Torr (Co. Antrim)Passage Tomb4 New Images
Ossian's Grave - Lubitavish (Co. Antrim)Court Tomb5 New Images
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