Derry, Tyrone & Antrim

Saturday 14 March

Limavady Junction Station (C638255) was investigated. All the buildings have been flattened. Only the platforms and part of an overbridge remain. A set of rails embedded in tarmac may be seen just outside the down platform. The railway house at Myroe Level Crossing (C637263) was inspected. It is a pair of semi-detached dwellings with the middle section having two storeys. It is built of red brick and is now derelict. The building is lit by gas and electricity. Each dwelling had a porch and originally three downstairs rooms. The stairs lead directly to an upper room with a second room beyond this. In the house closer to the crossing two of the downstairs rooms have been combined. No trace was found of Broighter Station (C648256).

At Mill Bridge (C524188) there is a large mill complex. At the south end is a two- storey modern house. This is attached to a two-bay three-storey section and a two-bay four-storey section. At the north end there are four-bay and five-bay sections, each three storeys high. There is also a single-storey detached building about four bays long. Access was not possible but all sections are roofed and some floors appear to be intact. Traces of the headrace are visible behind the mill and it is possible that there was an internal wheel. On the hill overlooking the mill is another large mill-like building which could not be closely inspected.

A hillside in Ballygroll was inspected for the antiquities marked on the map (C534137). A very low cairn about 8m diameter was found. To the south of this is a wedge-tomb about 3m long and 1.5m wide. It has a small antechamber. There are no capstones in place but a number of large stones nearby may have been displaced. One of these has at least a dozen cupmarks. Beside the tomb is another low grass-covered cairn about 8m diameter. Further south is a small circle of at least 16 stones and about 4m diameter. A number of stones including a quartz boulder lie within the circle and a small alignment about 3m long runs to the south. It is possibly a destroyed cairn.

A chambered grave, noted on a previous occasion, was inspected near Ervey Crossroads (C517126). It has a single chamber about 3m long and 1m wide. Some large stones in the vicinity may be displaced capstones. There are many small stones nearby which may be associated with the tomb or they may be field clearance or scattered walls.

Brackfield Bawn (C511097) is being restored at present. Originally it had two flanking towers at the north and south corners. One of these is almost intact apart from the roof. It is circular and had at least one small square-headed window which is now blocked. Only fragments remain of the house which was built against the south-west wall. The south flanking tower is fragmentary. Internally the bawn was about 19m square and about one third of the interior was occupied by the house.

A standing stone was investigated (C525082). It is about 1.25m high by 40cm thick and 90cm wide and tapering. It has good sharp edges. A second similar stone was noted in passing (C529081). A third stone was examined (C533080). It is a large quartz block about 1.7m high by 1.2m wide and 60cm thick.

A rath was investigated (C536068). It has a very fine inner bank, now with many tree stumps. There are two gaps. There are remains of a ditch and an outer bank, particularly on the south side. The rath platform is about 30m diameter. Across the river are the remains of an old church and graveyard. These were not closely inspected.

A mill was inspected (C529065). It is three storeys high and six bays long and is dated 1854. There are good traces of the head- and tailrace. In particular, the overflow from the headrace is in very good condition and is stone-paved. There is no wheel but the wheel-pit is intact and there are traces of the sluice-gate. Just upstream is a very fine weir and salmon-leap. Further upstream, near Cumber Bridge, are some buildings which may be mills but they were not closely inspected. The mound marked near the mill may be a natural hillock with a wall round the base.

Donaghedy Church (C455046) is very ruinous. The west gable stands to full height with only fragments of the other walls. There may have been a doorway in the south wall. The memorials are mainly of the 19th and 20th centuries with a few from the mid-18th century.

Near the river are two mills. The first is of stone with the upper storey rebuilt of corrugated iron (C454044). It has a good headrace and dam but there is no trace of a wheel or turbine. The upper storey is empty and the lower storey contains the remains of scutching equipment. Further downstream (C453044) is another two-storey mill built of stone with a corrugated iron roof. The upper storey is used to store straw and the lower storey contains farm machinery. It has a very fine waterwheel constructed mainly of iron with wooden buckets. It is about 3.5m diameter and 1m wide. The flume is still intact but the rest of the headrace is fragmentary. There are remains of a miller's house nearby.

Altnaghree Castle (C482037), now in ruins, may be a large Victorian mansion three storeys high. It features a number of very fine oriel windows set on Scottish-type corbels. There is a two-storey section at the back and traces of an outer wall. The building is of stone with brick at the doors and windows. A narrow stairway rises above first floor level but this was not investigated. There are very many fireplaces and the roof parapet has crenellations. A short distance away is a large walled garden and a small gatehouse.

A standing stone was noted in passing (C513038). It may be 1.5m high by less than 50cm square and tapering. It was not closely inspected. A rath was investigated (C529043). It is about 30m diameter with a good bank incorporating a large amount of stone. There are no traces of an outer bank or ditch.

Sunday 15 March

Cashelbane Cairn, in Loughash (C517013), is a wedge-tomb set within a large cairn. The gallery is about 6.5m long by 2m wide, with a capstone covering one section near the back. To the rear of this the gallery seems to be divided into two small chambers. There are many uprights including a double row along one side. The capstone is about 2m by 1.5m and the uprights are 1m or less high. The cairn is low and about 19m diameter. It incorporates a large number of quartz boulders. The standing stone marked nearby is not visible from the cairn and it was not located.

Also in Loughash, near Magheryard (C483009), is another wedge-tomb. One lintel is in place at the front of the chamber which is about 4m long by 1.5m wide. There is an antechamber about 1.5m deep. The capstone is about 2m by 1m. There is a good facade with two stones about 1.4m high. Between them, forming a double entrance, is a third stone less than 50cm high. There is a lot of cairn material still in place. The cairn is about 8.5m long by 7m wide at the front.

At Silverbrook Bridge (C448004) there are two mills, both with wheels. The building closer to the road has a millstone outside it and some fittings inside indicate that it is a corn-mill. The stone-floor, however, is not accessible. There is a kiln within the building which seems to be in good condition. However the drying-floor can not be seen. The other wheel is set between two buildings which are at right angles to each other. One of these is ruinous and the other has a corrugated iron roof. The wheel was not inspected closely and it is not clear to which building it is attached.

A rath was investigated (C439018). It is about 38m diameter with some traces of an inner bank. There is a good high platform but no signs of a ditch or outer bank. A new house, built beside the rath, has removed about one quarter of the platform on the north- east side.

Dunnamanagh Castle (C445034) consists of three sides of a rectangular building. It was not closely inspected. Mount Castle (C418052) consists of one corner of a tower with a small turret carried on Scottish-type corbels.

The antiquities on Windy Hill were viewed. The chambered grave (C402023) is greatly overgrown. It is set tight against a field boundary and forms a cairn about 11m long by 6m wide. The interior is almost totally filled but there may be one capstone in place. However, the exact nature of the structure is not clear. A short distance away are the remains of White Fort Cashel (C400024). Only about half the cashel remains and forms part of a field boundary. It is a low curving wall about 3m thick and 1m high. There is a great deal of stone lying around which may be part of the cashel. However some of it may be field clearance.

A dolmen near Artigarvan (C391012) was inspected. All the orthostats seem to have collapsed under the capstone. There are three stones under the capstone with a fourth stone lying just outside. The capstone is about 3m long by 2m wide and 1m thick. the other stones are about 1.5m to 2m long. There are a number of smaller stones under the capstone.

A chambered grave near Victoria Bridge (H358906) consists of one chamber made from six orthostats. It is about 3.5m long by 1.5m wide. A number of large stones lie outside the chamber. There is a considerable amount of cairn material and it is possible that the tomb is set within a cairn about 60m long. It is in the middle of a small copse.

At Douglas Bridge there is a mill (H373900) with a wheel about 5m diameter and 1.5m wide. It has a metal lining with wooden buckets and spokes and a metal rim. There is a peripheral drive and a good metal axle. The mill is L-shaped. It is in good order and a ventilator in the roof suggests the presence of a kiln. The roof is corrugated asbestos. A pair of millstones lie outside. There are traces of the flume and tailrace but no signs of the headrace or dam.

A possible dolmen was investigated (H412879). Some orthostats form a chamber. Within this is a jumble of stones which may be fallen uprights or possibly a broken capstone. The orthostats may be up to 1.4m high and some of the other stones are up to 1.7m long.

Within sight of the last structure, in Crosh, is another dolmen (H418879). The pair of portal stones are well matched and about 2.2m high by 1.6m wide and 60cm thick. A large stone on the west side may be a slipped capstone. It is about 3m long by 2m wide and 50cm thick. Another stone about 1.5m square may be a backstone. The whole structure is about 5.5m long by 2m wide. Nearby is a rath with no outer bank or ditch. There is a large amount of stone in the perimeter bank but a great deal of field clearance masks the true nature of the structure. The bank is up to 3m wide and the platform is about 30m diameter (H416878).

Harry Avery's Castle (H392852) consists of two D-shaped towers at the edge of a mound. The remains suggest a rectangular tower with two D-shaped projections. The entrance was probably at the ground floor where there are traces of vaulting. A mural stairway led to first floor level where access to the top of the mound was possible. The rest of the castle buildings were probably on top of the mound although no traces remain.

In Sandville there are a pair of standing stones (C388048). They now form part of a field boundary. One is about 2m high and the other is about 1.5m high by 1m wide and 20cm thick. They are about 50cm apart and may be the portals of a destroyed tomb. There are no other large stones visible.

Another standing stone was inspected (C489145). It is about 1.8m high by 1m wide and 20cm thick. It is made of schist. A motte and bailey were investigated (C477159). They are greatly overgrown with bracken and bushes. The motte is egg- shaped and the rectangular bailey lies to the west.

Monday 16 March

A rath platform was investigated (D010437). It is about 30m diameter with some traces of a ditch but no banks. Near the south edge is the entrance to a souterrain. This was not explored because the entrance is very low and muddy.

Lemnagh Beg Chambered Grave (D022433) was explored. It is a very fine single- chambered structure consisting of four orthostats and a capstone with an opening to the east. It is set in the middle of a circular cairn about 7m diameter. The kerb is still well represented.

Clegnagh Chambered Grave (D025436) is slightly larger and also has four orthostats and a capstone. There are remains of a cairn with a kerb. It is perched at the edge of a quarry and about half the original structure is missing.

Bonamargy Friary (D127408) is entered through the remains of a gatehouse of one storey plus attic. There is a fireplace in the attic. The main ruins consist of a rectangular church with a range of buildings running north. At the south is a tomb with a chapel above it. The buildings to the north are two-storey with a small and a large vaulted room at the lower level. The upper storey is fragmentary. The chapel above the tomb in the south has a fine mullioned and transomed window in the south wall and a mullioned window in the east wall. The memorials inside the church are mainly late 18th century. In the south wall is a tomb niche of 1630. There is a nice window near the east end and a pointed doorway near the west end. Near the site of the west gable is a small holed cross. The east window of the church is fragmentary. On then outside are three masks and flanking the window are two panels featuring interlacing and floriation. There are no windows in the north wall. The main building material is sandstone.

In the grounds of the Church of Ireland near Ballyvoy are two standing stones (D148408). The first is about 2.25m high by 70cm square; the second is about 1.6m high by 70cm wide and 50cm thick.

The chambered grave in West Torr (D212407) seems to be a passage tomb. A single chamber is set in a low cairn with a good kerb. There are traces of a passage leading from the North-west. The cairn is about 25m diameter and the chamber is about 2m by 1.5m.

The walls of Altagore Cashel (D250349) are about 2.5m high on the inside of the west side. The entrance in the east is well defined although the walls in this area are more ruinous. There is a small mural chamber in the north wall. It is L-shaped with a good lintelled entrance but it was not fully explored. Some steps lead to the top of the north wall. The internal diameter of the cashel is about 17m and the walls are about 2m thick.

Castle Carra (D250335) is a ruinous two-storey tower sitting on a small rocky outcrop. There is no obvious entrance. The window openings are all ruinous and there is possibly a fireplace in the north wall. The south-west corner is almost completely gone. Nearby are two standing stones (D248334). One is about 1.5m high by 1m square and the other is about 2m high by 1.5m square.

Layd Church (D245289) is a rectangular building with a two-storey tower at the west end. The upper storey is fragmentary but there is a very fine vault above the ground floor. There are very good traces of wicker centering. There is a doorway in the south wall of the church and a square-headed doorway leads from the church to the tower. Above this is a rectangular opening. This feature is repeated at the window above the doorway. There is some restoration work in progress. In the south wall of the church is a fragmentary piscina and the east window seem to have been small. The north and south walls project beyond the line of the east gable in the manner of antae. Just outside the tower is a fine 19th century cross. It is a good example of Celtic Revival work and features some good interlacing as well as picture panels. Close to the entrance to the churchyard is a sandstone pillar with a round expanded top. This is perforated. This may be of great antiquity but has been re-used as a more recent memorial. There are some 18th century memorials near the church.

Ossian's Grave (D213285) is a court-tomb of which only the orthostats remain. The court is about 5.5m wide and 3m deep and there is a two-chambered gallery. All the stones are about 1m or less high.

At Curramoney (D033378) there is a wedge-tomb about 6.5m wide at the front and 9m long. It forms a U-shaped cairn. The interior is very confused and there is a great deal of field clearance. However there may be one capstone in place. All the stones are about 1m or less high and one of the stones in the facade is covered with small pockmarks.

Tuesday 17 March

At Churchtown (C810150) there is a rock-cut souterrain with three openings, one at either end and a large collapse in the middle. Some flooding prevented close examination but it is possible that there is a side passage near the middle.

A rath (C818141), about 24m diameter, has traces of an inner bank. Some low mounds may be house platforms. To the south-west may be seen half of another rath (C818139). This was not closely inspected.

Knockoneill Court Tomb (C820088) has a two-chambered gallery about 5.5m long by 1.5m wide. There is a small antechamber. There is a low sillstone at the rear of the antechamber and a lintel stone in place between the two chambers of the gallery. The backstone of the inner chamber is also the sidestone of a subsidiary chamber. This chamber is about 1.5m by 1m and is entered from the side of the cairn by a curving passage about 3m long. The court stones are up to 1.5m high and the court is about 7m deep and 7m wide. There is a great deal of cairn material and a well-defined kerb.

Another chambered grave appears as some large stones and a possible low cairn (C833110). A rath (C840125) is a low circular platform with trees planted around the edge. It is about 35m diameter.

The megalithic tomb in Carrick East (C704174) has the appearance of a centre-court tomb with a single-chambered tomb on either side. The court is about 3m wide. The chambers have good capstones about 2.5m to 3m long. The tallest of the orthostats is about 1.5m but most of them are about 1m high. The total length of the monument is about 10m and the maximum width is about 4.5m. There is a rath a short distance away (C707172) but it was not closely inspected.