South-East Down

Saturday 19 January

An investigation was made into some sites marked on the 1930 6" Ordnance Survey Map. The first site, in Burrenreagh (J326346), was marked as a souterrain inside a fort. More than half of a cashel wall remains. It is about 2m thick and is incorporated into a field and lane boundary. No trace was found of the souterrain nor of the lime-kiln beside the cashel. The second site, in Magherasaul (J357377), is an almost square fort with a souterrain in the corner. The fort is greatly ruined and no trace of the souterrain was found. The fort is about 40m across. Traces of the well beside the road were found. The third site, also in Magherasaul (J363383), is a souterrain but no trace was found. Close to this site are some remains which may be part of a cashel.

Dundrum Castle (J404369) was visited. There are substantial remains of this large castle set on a rocky outcrop. The upper ward is surrounded by a large rock-cut ditch and most of the curtain wall is intact. There are some traces of a wall-walk and a number of defensive loops. In the wall, just behind the keep, is a double latrine recess with chutes. The ward is entered through a twin-towered gatehouse. One half is D-shaped and the other is rectangular. Close to one side of the ward is a large circular keep. There are remains of two machicolations at roof level. One of them is above the doorway. The roof may be reached by broad mural stairways and passages. In the lower ward are the remains of a 17th house built on two levels. The western half has a number of defensive loops.

The church at Drumcaw (J393413), near Seaforde, was viewed from the roadside. It appears to be a simple rectangular structure. Drumcaw Cairn (J389412) contains a megalithic cist. It is a stone-lined pit about 1m long and 50cm wide. The capstone has been moved to one side and there are substantial remains of the cairn.

White Fort Cashel (J365440), near Drumaroad, was investigated. The walls are about 2m thick but broken and very low in places. It is about 40m diameter and there are four possible house platforms. A rectangular depression near the centre may indicate a souterrain.

The churches and graveyard at Loughinisland (J424454) were visited. The small South Church has the date 1636 and initials PMC carve on the doorway. On the gable over the doorway is a weathered mask. There are remains of windows in the north and south walls. The east window has two lights but the mullion is missing. The larger Middle Church is probably 13th century. It has a doorway in the south wall, an east window and windows in the north and south walls. The large North Church is 15th century. It has doorways in the west and south walls and a blocked east window. There are a number of small windows throughout the building including one over the west doorway. Above this is a weathered mask. Set into the inside of the walls are a number of carved stones. The gravestones in the churchyard are mainly 19th and 20th century but there are some late 18th century stones. There are very many simple stones some of which are plain. Others have inscribed initials and simple crosses but no dates. Just outside the east wall of the North Church is a small stone carved with a Cross of Lorraine. The top is damaged and the complete cross is not visible. There are two large burial vaults in the churchyard, one of which is dated 1835 and 1855.

Annadorn Dolmen (J429459) was investigated. A large capstone covers a very low rectangular chamber. The chamber contains a lot of rubble and there are some small packing stones. A rath (J427461) was visited. It has some traces of an outer ditch. There is a good inner bank containing a large stone which may be the lintel of a souterrain. The rath is about 20m diameter.

Sunday 20 January

St Mary's Church, Ballaghanery (J388267), is a simple nave-and-chancel structure. The only substantial remains are of the chancel arch which may be a reconstruction. The walls of the ruin are very low and grass-covered. Some stones near the church may be grave markers.

Annalong Corn Mill, in Mullertown (J376197), was visited. Most of the reconstruction work has been completed. A small portion of the kiln roof is still without slates. The building containing the oil-engine has been re-roofed and the millrace and wheel have been reconstructed. The wheel has yet to be set in its bearings.

The Long Stone, Moneydorragh More (J354199), was viewed. It is about 2.5m high and less than 1m square. At present it is painted green, white and orange. Kilmeloge, in Ballyveagh More (J345183), is a large, circular, stone-built enclosure, about 60m diameter. The wall is about 1m thick. Lisnahilta Rath (J322172) was visited. It is like a small cashel and greatly overgrown. A number of large stones within it may be the uncovered lintels of a souterrain. Another rath, in Aughnahoory (J316162), was investigated. It has a single bank which is greatly overgrown but the interior is bare. The bank has a great deal of stone in it and is missing on the south side. The diameter is about 40m.

A rath in Dunnaval (J285129) was inspected. The outer bank has been removed by sand quarrying on the north-east corner but is well preserved, with the ditch, elsewhere. The rath platform is about 5m high and about 30m diameter. The inner bank is greatly overgrown but the platform is bare. In a field, south-east of the rath, is a standing stone. It was not closely inspected. In a field north-east of the rath is another standing stone (J286131), about 2m high. Close inspection shows that it is a re-used gatepost.

Narrow Water Castle (J127193) was visited. It is a rectangular tower-house set near one edge of a bawn. Over the doorway, at roof level, is a machicolation and just inside is a murder-hole, leading from the first floor. A mural stairway leads to roof level. The first floor has two windows set within deep recesses. There is also a small garderobe. One of the window recesses has been reconstructed and the wicker centering has been left in place. The second floor room four recessed windows and a fireplace which is a later addition. It encroaches on one of the window recesses. There are three small chambers, one of which is a garderobe. The stairway is lit by narrow defensive loops. The floor of the attic storey is missing but the roof is in place. It appears to have been rebuilt and raised at some time. The roof-walk is intact. A small tower rises in one corner above the level of the allure. Beneath this is a small chamber. Access to the top of this tower is not possible. There are good crenellations.