From the Roe to the Bush

Saturday 15 March

The Roe Valley Country Park at the Dog Leap (C679202) was investigated. Here is a collection of mills and other structures. A weaving shed is converted to a museum outside of which is a collection of agricultural implements, including ploughs, harrows and a seed-sower made by Philip Pierce of Wexford. There is also a flax-breaking stone and in the yard behind the shed is a waterwheel about 3m diameter and 1m wide. The powerhouse beside the river is apparently powered by a turbine. There are remains of a millrace and inside are generators. There is a fine bridge beside which is an enclosed flume and across the bridge is another mill.

At Carrick Mills (C686191) are the remains of a waterwheel attached to a single- storey building. The wheel is about 1.5m wide with iron buckets and a fluted iron axle. Only half of it remains but the diameter is about 5m and it may be breast-shot. There are traces of a sluice. The wheel is at right angles to the river and the building is of stone with brick at the windows and doors. About 100m downstream (C686192) is a two-storey building with the axle of a waterwheel (1.5m wide) in place parallel to the river. The mill is a stone and brick building and no access was possible at this time. About 100m upstream from the small mill (C685190) is a large modern mill apparently driven by a turbine. The entrance is on the first floor but access was not possible. About 200m from the river (C687189) is another mill with a chimney. This is a scutch-mill built in 1941 but now used as a cowshed. There is another building between this mill and the river (C685188).

The mill near Rosebrook (C675139) is a two-storey building, about half of which is roofless. Part of the roofed section is fire-damaged. It appears to be a corn-mill although no stones remain. Part of the roofed section is slated and contains a corn-kiln. This is intact and some of the perforated drying floor may be seen. Traces of the flume leading from the millrace may be seen and indicate that there may have been an internal wheel or turbine. There is no trace of a tailrace.

A mill at Gallany (C645055) was inspected. It is a two-storey building about half of which is roofed. There are traces of an enclosed flume leading into the mill and a good tailrace. The interior of the building is difficult to view but there are remains of some type of electrical apparatus inside. There is a small projecting wing at the back. Only fragments of the mill remain at Auglish Bridge (C653038) and it was not closely investigated.

Sunday 16 March

Fort William (H833972) is a large rath with a good bank, a broad ditch and an outer bank. The diameter of the platform is about 40m and the total diameter is about 70m. The bank is low on the inside but from the top to the bottom of the ditch it could be 5m in places. There are no traces of souterrains or house platforms. White Fort (H813968) is a low subcircular platform about 30m diameter. Some trees are planted around the edge but there are no signs of an outer bank or ditch. There are no traces of souterrains or house platforms. Duntibryan (H807958) is a large platform rath about 50m diameter and up to 2m high in places. The perimeter is planted with thorn and there is no outer bank or ditch.

The remains of a small rectangular church (H815948) were inspected. There is a large east window and two smaller windows in the south wall. The west doorway has a porch. An inscription above the doorway states that the church was rebuilt in 1806 by rev William Bryan rector, Jas Stevenson & Thos Jackson CW and John Laverty builder. Above the doorway is a deeply recessed window now blocked. It appears to have been a small slit with a round head. There is an unusual oval window in the north wall of the porch and the doorway opposite it has fluted columns. There are a number of finely carved stones in the graveyard. These are mainly 18th century (with some early 19th century) and are lettered in relief. Just beyond the east wall of the church is a fragment of wall with a finely carved memorial in Latin dated 1715. Above the inscription is a coat of arms and below it is a skull and crossbones. It is apparently a memorial to Elizabeth Moore, possibly the wife of Andrew Henderson, rector of Ballynaskreen. A group of stones displays an interesting variety of spelling MCLINAN, MCLINEN, MCLNAN. They are all early 18th century. There are some cross-shaped stones with incised lettering.

The group of chambered tombs in Ballybriest was investigated. The large double court-tomb is now stripped of its cairn (H762885). The tomb to the west has an oval court but the north side of this is not original. It leads to a two-chambered gallery. The depth of the court is about 4.5m and the total length of the gallery is about 6m. The tomb to the east is more ruinous. It has a larger court about 4m wide at the front and about 5m deep. Only fragments of the gallery, about 4m long, remain. The chambered tomb to the south (H763883) may be a wedge-tomb. It is about 5.5m long by 3.5m wide at the front and consists of a single chamber covered by two capstones. The structure to the east (H765886) is another wedge-tomb. It also has a single chamber covered by two capstones and is about 3.5m long by 2m wide at the front. The entrance to both these tombs is in the west.

Killymoon chambered tomb (H823769) seems to consist of a single large chamber about 5m long by 2m wide. Two stones outside the chamber may be part of a court. Tullahoge Fort (H825743) is a large hilltop earthwork. It consists of a very large platform with a substantial bank outside of which is a very wide ditch and an outer bank. The diameter of the platform is about 35m and the estimated total diameter is 80m. There is a well-defined entrance causeway in the north.

A hilltop rath was investigated (H717739). It is about 40m diameter with a low bank and some traces of a ditch. It is planted with trees and surrounded by a plantation. There are traces of another curving bank a short distance to the south.

A group of stone circles was inspected (H712745). It is set within a low semicircular platform and interrupted by a field boundary. There are at least seven complete circles and traces of three more as well as two alignments. The stones are generally low except in the alignments. A cairn at the southern extremity may be field clearance and may hide more structures. The largest circles are about 6m diameter.

Wellbrook Beetling Mill (H749792) was viewed from the outside. It has a fine breast-shot wheel about 5m diameter and 1.5m wide. There is a good millrace and wooden flume. The building is two storeys high and seven bays long. Beside it is a smaller single storey building with attic. There are two chimneys and a window in the gable.

Monday 17 March

Two mills at Bushmills were viewed (C941405). Both have breast-shot wheels. On the west side of the river the wheel is in poor condition. It has wooden spokes which are fragmentary and most of the buckets and lining have disappeared. It is about 5m diameter and 2m wide and has a rim cog. The other wheel is of similar size and has metal spokes. It is in much better condition. Both mills are cornmills. The mill to the west is two storeys high and had three sets of stones. There are remains of a grain elevator and a number of millstones lying around. The building behind contains two corn kilns. These are fed from a central room and are intact. The grain drying floors are fragmentary. The kilns are connected to the mill by an elevated passageway. There are two roof ventilators. The mill to the east is not accessible. The attached building has half the roof missing but there is a roof ventilator indicating the presence of a corn kiln. An old photograph shows two ventilators on this building.

A rath near Stranocum (D013298) consists of a large platform with a good ditch and a large outer bank. The platform is oval and is about 25m by 30m. There are remnants of a wall around the rim and it has been greatly disturbed by tree planting and badger hunting. The ditch and bank are missing on the east side. A nearby rath (D013296) has a higher bank, a wider ditch and a greater outer bank. This rath contains a souterrain near one edge. It is possible 10m long and L-shaped but only a short section is accessible. About 3m maximum can be explored before a low creep is reached. The other end of the souterrain appears as some exposed lintels. The rath is about 50m diameter and although the bank has some large gaps it is most impressive. The ditch is about 4m wide and the height from the bottom to the top of the bank may be 5m in places.

Armoy Round Tower (D078332) has a very narrow doorway about 1.5m above present ground level. It is reckoned to be the narrowest Round Tower doorway in Ireland and is about 50cm wide at the bottom. It is capped by a single stone with a raised moulding. The are no other openings in the tower. The church was rebuilt in 1820 and enlarged in 1846. The memorials in the churchyard are mainly 19th and 20th century with some 18th century stones.