Armagh & Tyrone
Saturday 3 February
Investigations were made at Eglish, Co. Armagh (H806502), where the map notes a church and crosses. The remains consist of the west gable of a rectangular church and part of the head of an unpierced, ring-headed cross. The cross has little or no decoration and there are bullauns at the cross-piece (where one would expect bosses). The graveyard has very few gravestones and apparently none more recent than late 18th century which may indicate that the site was abandoned at this date. One of the stones features a hand grasping a sword and surmounted by two stars. The church gable is devoid of any worked stone. The doorway was apparently pointed but only the gap remains. A number of shallow depressions and low mounds may indicate a recent excavation at the site.
At Milltown (H803518), near Benburb, is a bridge of the Ulster Canal, although the canal has almost completely disappeared at this point. There is a good lock-keeper's house but no trace of the lock. The house is a single-storey building with a fine square hood mould over the windows and a five-sided bow end. The mill is three storeys high with attic. It is two bays deep and seven bays long. There are many smaller buildings including some with glass roofs of the type found in many linen mills. There is a very fine red-brick chimney. There are excellent remains of a head-race but no traces of a wheel or turbine.
Another large mill was viewed from across the river close to Benburb (H812520). No wheel is visible. At the end of the mill-race on the north side of the river, near the castle, is a turbine, which now appears to be out of use. It was completed on October 6 1982 by Bro. Frank Mallon. There is a very fast race on the south side of the river but this disappears into a tunnel a short distance downstream from the bridge and its purpose cannot be determined. On the south side of the river, opposite the mill, are some lime-kilns and a quarry.
Benburb Castle (H815520) is built an the edge of a cliff. It is a plantation bawn built in 1611 by Sir Richard Wingfield. It is an irregular four-sided bawn with the entrance in the north wall. There are large rectangular flanking towers at the north-east and north- west corners and a smaller round tower at the south-east corner. A 19th century house occupies the SW area of the bawn. The NE flanker has two fine mullioned and transomed windows in its east wall. The NW flanker is now under repair and has a chimney. The bawn wall is well provided with musket loops and there is a small gateway in the east wall. If any allure existed it is now removed and the top of the wall is peaked.
At Clonfeacle (H838521) there is a squat cross about 1.25m high by 85cm at widest and 30cm thick. It has a small solid ring and no decoration. It is set in a substantial base. Beside it is a small boulder featuring a very fine deeply-incised cross with expanded ends. The adjacent graveyard has a large collection of 18th century stones. One of these has a coat of arms above a fine Adam and Eve depiction. On the edge of the stone is a series of small finely carved figures.
At Charlemont (H854558) are the remains of a star-shaped artillery fort. There are good traces of a substantial defensive bank. Within this is a low crenellated wall with corner bastions. In the middle of the south wall is a two-storey gatehouse which may be late 18th century. Two long slits and pulleys in the outer wall of this building and two vertical recesses in the inner side walls indicate the possible existence of a lifting door or drawbridge. The recesses would have taken the sliding counterweights. There are a number of musket loops at the upper storey and there are traces of two trapdoors inside which may have served as murder-holes. On either side of the entrance are small vaulted rooms. Above the outer doorway is a fine coat of arms and a clock face on the inner and outer walls. Near the eaves on the east wall is a stone inscribed EW.
Across the Blackwater, in Co. Tyrone is the village of Moy (H848562). It was here that the Earl of Charlemont built Roxborough House as the successor to the house in Charlemont Fort. Both houses were burned in 1922. The magnificent iron gates and screen of Roxborough House may still be seen. Across the road is an extensive mill which is mainly derelict and its original use could not be determined. The village is laid out after the plan of Marengo in Lombardy and there are some fine houses in the square.
Some remains of the Coalisland Canal were investigated. At the Moor is a lock with fine stonework but no traces of gates or canal buildings. There are no traces of the canal downstream but substantial remains upstream. At Gortgonis Bridge (H853654) is a double lock. It is spanned by a fine humped bridge across the middle of the lower lock but the road is now carried by straight bridge across the upper lock. The parapet of the original canal bridge is now damaged. There is a ruined brick building beside the upper lock. This is single storey with three rooms and a high pitched roof. It may have been a lock-keeper's house. There is another lock about 100m downstream. This was not closely inspected.
The railway station at Coalisland (H838665) consists of a large goods shed with the remains of a platform canopy and a platform. It stands just south of a triple railway bridge which is lined with red and yellow bricks.
Richill Railway Station (H928494) is practically intact. The detached red-brick station master's house has yellow brick trimmings. There is an upper storey within the roof with a dormer window. There is a large two-road goods shed and a small single storey waiting room and offices. On the opposite platform is a small red-brick hut. Both platforms are in good condition. There is no trace of the signal cabin.
Sunday 4 February
In spite of the inclement weather some monuments of South Armagh were investigated. Ballymacdermot Court Grave (J066240) is one of the finest examples of its kind. A three-chambered gallery leads south from a fine semicircular court. The divisions between the chambers are very clear and there are a number of corbel stones still in place. The tallest stone in the court is about 1.5m high and there are considerable remains of the cairn.
The larger eastern church at Killevy (J040220) is medieval and features two weathered masks outside the remains of its large east window. The east wall has a good batter. There is a doorway in the north wall and traces of a second doorway in the south wall near the west end. There is an aumbry and a window in the south wall. A small cross of unknown date leans against the west wall. Beside it is a thick slab with a ring-headed cross in low relief. The smaller western church dates from the 12th century but its west doorway is possibly older. This features a massive lintel. There are remains of a small doorway in the south wall and within this gap is a stone font. The east wall has a small roundheaded window and two aumbries. Outside the south-west corner of the church are the rectangular foundations of a possible tower. The graveyard has a good mixture of memorials particularly from the 19th century. The stones erected to the McCoy family along the west wall of the churchyard are the best examples and feature cherubs and a fine crucifixion. The McCoys were sculptors.
The north cairn in Clonlum (J045213) contains a court grave. There are good remains of the west arm of the court. A long gallery runs south from the court. This contains many large stones which are original as well as a number of small stones which may be more recent. There are no traces of dividing stones between the chambers which contain a lot of rubble. A large stone resting on one edge of the gallery may be a displaced capstone. Just outside the west arm of the court is a small subsidiary chamber measuring 1m in all dimensions. There are substantial remains of the cairn. The south cairn in Clonlum (J046206) is roughly circular. It contains a single megalithic chamber about lm wide by lm deep and 1.5m long. The large capstone is displaced and is broken in two.
At the other side of Slieve Gullion is Ballykeel Dolmen (H995213). This is a very fine example of a tripod dolmen set at the southern end of a long cairn of which there are substantial remains. The well matched portal-stones have a good sill-stone between them. The back stone has been broken but is now repaired. There is a massive triangular capstone. A short distance away, at Ballykeel Bridge is a ruined scutch-mill with a turbine and good mill-race and dam. The building beside it was apparently a corn-mill.
At Lurgana (H980312), near Whitecross, is a small corn-mill, two storeys high by three bays long. A good mill-race leads through a stone arch to a fine water-wheel with wooden spokes and metal rim. All the buckets are now gone. A short distance away is a good mill chimney. The mill apparently had four sets of stones in a line. The building on the opposite side of the road is now reduced to one storey and totally ruinous. Observations made at an earlier date indicate that this building may have contained a corn-kiln.