County Down Antiquities

There are two remarkable cairns; one on the summit of Slieve Croob, which is 80 yards round at the base and 50 on the top, and is the largest monument of the kind in the county: on. this platform several smaller cairns are raised, of various heights and dimensions. The other is near the village of Anadorn, and is more curious, from containing within its circumference, which is about 60 yards, a large square smooth stone supported by several others, so as to form a low chamber, in which were found ashes and some human bones. A solitary pillar stone stands on the summit of a hill near Saint-field, having about six feet of its length above the ground.

Among the more remarkable cromlechs is that near Drumbo, called the Giant's Ring, also one on Slieve-na-Griddal, in Lecale; there is another near Sliddery ford, and a third is in the parish of Drumgooland; others less remarkable may be seen near Rathfriland and Comber. There are two round towers: one stands about 24 feet south-west of the ruins of the church of Drumbo, and the other is close to the ruins of the old church of Maghera: a third, distinguished for the symmetry of its proportions, stood near the cathedral at Downpatrick, but it was taken down in 1790, to make room for rebuilding part of that edifice. Of the relics of antiquity entirely composed of earth, every variety is to be met with. Raths surrounded by a slight single ditch are numerous, and so situated as to be generally within view of each other.

Of the more artificially constructed mounds, some, as at Saintfield, are formed of a single rampart and foss; others with more than one, as at Downpatrick, which is about 895 yards in circuit at the base, and surrounded by three ramparts: a third kind, as at Dromore, has a circumference of 600 feet, with a perpendicular height of 40 feet; the whole being surrounded by a rampart and battlement, with a trench that has two branches, embracing a square fort, 100 feet in diameter: and there are others very lofty at Donaghadee and Dundonald, with caverns or chambers running entirely round their interior.

A thin plate of gold, shaped like a half moon, was dug out of a bog in Castlereagh; the metal is remarkably pure, and the workmanship good though simple. Another relic of the same metal, consisting of three thick gold wires intertwined through each other, and conjectured to have formed part of the branch of a golden candlestick, was found near Dromore. Near the same town have been found a canoe of oak, about 13 feet long, and various other relics; another canoe was found at Loughbrickland, and a third in the bog of Moneyreagh. An earthen lamp of curious form was dug up near Moira, the figures on which were more remarkable for their indecency than their elegance.

County Down | English Settlement of County Down | County Down Baronies and Towns | County Down Topography | County Down Soil | County Down Agriculture | County Down Livestock | County Down Geology | County Down Linen | County Down Fisheries | County Down Rivers | County Down Antiquities | County Down Monasteries and Castles | County Down Mineral Springs | County Down Wildlife

Search Topographical Dictionary of Ireland »