Derry & Antrim
Saturday 24 February
Mill Loughan Mound occupies a fine site overlooking the River Bann. It is an Anglo-Norman castle motte (C875291). The mound is about 5m high and 10m wide at the top. It is not very steep and surrounded by a broad ditch. There are possible traces of a bailey on the south side. The mound is planted with a few trees and bushes. A small square red-brick chimney appears to be all that remains of any mill. There is a possible mill-race but this could not be closely inspected.
At Macfin Station (C897269) there are good traces of both platforms. The station buildings have been replaced by a modern bungalow. The stationmaster's house is intact but has been greatly modified with extensions. Close to the station is an overbridge of the Derry Central Railway.
A small motte was noted in passing (C909240). It is marked on the map as a rath. A very fine rath, marked as a motte (C918237), was visited. The inner platform is quite high and planted with mature trees. It is surrounded by a very wide, shallow ditch and a wide, low outer bank. The ditch was flooded on this occasion and access to the mound was not possible.
The extensive mills at Balnamore were viewed from across the river. This site had been noted on a previous occasion (C920248). The ruined stone buildings have been superceded by a tall red-brick building and a fine brick chimney. This was part of the Braid Water Spinning Company which also had extensive premises in Ballymena.
Aghadowey Railway Station (C881217) is a fine red-brick structure. It is intact except for the platforms. The central section is two storeys high with a double gable. It is flanked by two single-storey sections, One with a flat roof and one pitched. There is a black-brick string course and a yellow-brick course under the eaves. There are yellow- brick hood-moulds over the windows. The large grey-stone building nearby is now a Masonic Hall and may originally have been a goods shed. At the other end of the station is a good overbridge.
A rath near Garvagh was investigated (C839179). Most of it would appear to have been removed and what remains is thickly covered with thorn and bramble. This made investigation very difficult and the true nature of the structure could not be determined.
Sunday 25 February
Dungiven Priory was investigated (C692083). There are substantial remains of a nave-and-chancel church. The chancel has been re-roofed and within it is a very fine box-tomb. This has six military weepers and a good effigy. It is surmounted by a traceried canopy. Close examination was not possible due to a locked gate. There are two niches in the east wall and two lancet windows. In the south wall is a painted window and a blocked doorway. In the north wall of the nave is a pointed window and a pointed doorway which is rounded on the outside. There is a very fine round-headed window in the south wall. There are indications that there were windows in the east wall of the nave before the addition of the chancel. The round-headed window has very fine moulding on the outside. At the south-west corner of the church are the low remains of a large house. One large room has a fine paved floor. The graveyard is very overgrown and most of the stones appear to be 19th century. Near the north-east corner is a very fine bullaun-stone. The water within the bullaun served a similar purpose to that of a holy well and there is a very fine associated rag-tree.
In the field close to the river is a 20th century scutch-mill with an octagonal brick chimney. There are excellent remains of a head-race and flume and a possible turbine-pit attached to the larger building. The smaller building was not inspected on this visit but it is known to contain some remains of scutching stalls On the hill close to the approaches to the graveyard is a fine standing stone which was not closely inspected on this visit (C694084).
The remains of a mill were examined at Turmeel (C684078). There is no wheel but the wheel-pit is very clear and there is a hole in the wall for the drive-shaft. Two buildings straddle the pit. One of them may have been a scutch-mill as suggested by the possible remains of a scutching-stall. The mill is now used as a farm store and lambing pens. The mill dam, although now drained, is extensive and complete.
At Banagher Church (C676066), near the entrance to the graveyard, are the remains of a small square building. It is featureless except for a door lintel which may not be original. The church is a nave-and-chancel structure. It has a very fine west doorway with a massive lintel and excellent square moulding. The inside of the doorway is round. The south wall of the nave has a fine, deeply-recessed, round-headed window and a similar window in the south wall of the chancel has very fine moulding. Both windows have good exterior moulding. There is a trace of a window in the north wall of the chancel but the east wall is almost entirely gone. However a fragment of an ambry may be seen in the east wall. The former existence of a chancel arch is suggested by the moulded bases of the pillars. The outer corners of the chancel have attached moulded pillars with carved capitals. One of these features a beast with a long tail.
In the churchyard is a magnificent church-shaped tomb with a carved panel at the west end featuring a cleric. Near the east edge of the graveyard is a crude stone cross. A similar cross may be seen at the roadside a short distance from the church. There are a number of fine memorial stones. One depicts a skull-and-crossbones and other symbols of mortality. They all have coats-of-arms but any inscriptions are illegible.
The extensive remains of a court-grave (C672058) were investigated. It is greatly encroached-on by dumping and field clearance. The semi-circular court leads to a two- chambered gallery which has a very fine set of dividing stones. There are no stones at the rear of the gallery so the original extent of the structure is not clear. The gallery is about 6m long and 1.5m wide and the court is possibly 5.5m wide. The large stone lying within the first chamber may be a displaced capstone. There are extensive traces of the cairn which is round rather than long. Three standing stones project from the cairn on the west side of the gallery. Most of the modern material is on the east side.
The remains of a mill and associated water-works were investigated in Derrychrier (C662081). A very fine mill-race enters what may be a turbine-pit but it cannot be seen if the turbine is still In position. The construction of the pit and sluicegates would indicate relatively recent use although the mill is totally ruinous. The position of the wheel-pit is clear and good traces of the original head-race can be seen. Inside the mill are some remains of the drive from the wheel. Beside the mill is a ruined house which may be associated with it.
The water-mill at Park is now out of use (C589023). It has a very fine metal wheel fed by a good race and in good condition. There is a short tail-race. There are excellent remains of a saw-bench and associated equipment. At the rear of the building is an electrical generator and switching gear driven from the wheel. Within the upper level of the rear section of the building is a set of millstones. A separate building has a ventilator on the roof indicating a possible corn-kiln. Access to the interior of this building was not possible.
A standing stone was inspected (C574021). It is about 1.2m high by 80cm wide. It is about 35cm thick in the middle and tapers at one side to a sharp edge and at the other side to about 10cm thick. It is set in a small cairn, most of which is recent. At the edge of the field is a large stone about 1.5m by lm by 50cm thick with smaller stones around and under it. It looks like the capstone of a small cist but it may be just field clearance.
A rath was visited (C571028). It has a good inner bank, particularly on the west side, but no trace of a ditch or outer bank. The good clear platform is about 27m diameter and there are indications that the bank had an inner stone facing.
At Millbrook (C570059) there is a very fine collection of mill buildings. The internal water-wheel could not be inspected closely due to a wooden shutter. The oven for the corn-kiln is in very good condition and the lower floor of the kiln has a fine brick vault. There is a very good mill-race. The main building has a double gable and is four storeys high by seven bays long. Other buildings join it at an angle. The mill has a turbine as well as a wheel but this is at present removed for repair. In a small room at the rear are two small mills driven by pulleys and belts from below and fed by hoppers. They are labelled:- The Turner Macro Mill, made by Turner, Ipswich and The Greenhill Mill. At least two sets of millstones may be seen outside the mill.
Monday 26 February
A mill was viewed from the roadside (C918335). A fine octagonal chimney is attached to a fairly modern brick and concrete building. It is probably a 1940s scutch-mill. At Dervock all that remains of the railway station is apparently a small dark stone building (C980315). The site of the main station appears to be occupied by a modern bungalow. In the centre of the village are the remains of a small mill with a bell-cote above the gable (C978318). There is a wheel-pit and good traces of a flume but no wheel. Nearby is a very fine market-house with a broached tower surmounted by an ogival cupola. Beside it is an excellent war memorial mural.
Carnrig Fort (D034325) is just a rocky outcrop with no traces of a rath or cashel. A small rath near Chathamhall was viewed from the roadside (D044334). It appears to be only a platform with no outer defences. A very fine standing stone was inspected (D085372). It is at least 2m high by lm broad at the base and tapering. It is about 25cm thick. Nearby is Cloghanmurry Motte (D084375). It was not closely inspected.
Kilcrue Cross-Inscribed Stone (D087383) was examined. It is about l.5m high by 60cm wide at the base and 10cm thick. It tapers slightly. On one face it has a very fine carved cross about lm tall by 40cm wide with expanded ends. In Broomore is a good roadside motte (D099382) which was visited on a previous occasion. A little further away on the other side of the road is another motte (D103086). It was not examined closely but appears to have been sculpted from a hilltop. Between this location and Ballycastle are many remains of the Ballycastle Railway. These include two underbridges and portions of the embankment.
Broughanlea Cross (D137408) is a small crude cross-shaped slab about lm high. It has two carvings. One appears to be a crozier and the other may be a tau cross. Bonamargy Friary was visited (D128408). It is approached through the ruin of a two-storey gatehouse which has a fireplace in the upper storey. The rectangular church has a north and south range of buildings. The north range has a series of fine vaulted rooms at the lower storey. The upper storey can be reached by a good stone stairway but is ruinous. The site of the cloister can be clearly seen at the angle of the church and the north range but none of the cloister buildings remain. The large east window of the church is ruinous but features fine masks and decorated label stops on the outside. There are some other decorated stones in the east gable. Inside the west wall of the church is a small holed cross which marks the grave of the Black Nun. It is a ring-headed cross with stumpy arms. The pointed south doorway is set within a fine round-headed recess. The upper storey of the south range has some fine mullioned windows. The lower storey contains a burial vault. The churchyard has a mixture of ancient and modern stones.
There is a fine range of coastguard houses at Ballycastle (D117415). A massive stone tower occupies a central position in the terrace. It has brick machicolations carried on sandstone corbels and a small round turret. There are a number of defensive loops.