South Antrim



Saturday 26 May
Members of the Stone Circle joined a large group from QUB in a tour of raths and mottes in South Antrim led by Dr T E McNeill. Spring Farm Rath (J149882) has a fine domed platform about 30m diameter surrounded by a broad ditch. It is sparsely planted with trees and the ditch is partly flooded. The ditch is missing on the south side and there are no traces of banks. The rath forms the centrepiece of a modern housing estate.
Rathenraw Motte-and-bailey (J172874) occupies a good, raised site commanding a fine view of the surrounding countryside. A small motte stands at the south end of a large subcircular bailey. The bailey is about 40m long and 30m wide and the motte is about 3m high and about 6m diameter at the top.
The rath platform at Rathmore (J183873) is quite high in places with substantial traces of an inner bank. It is more than 40m across. There are no traces of an outer bank or ditch. The 19th century Survey of Donegore records a long rock-cut souterrain under this rath.

At Ballywee (J218899), within a figure-of-eight area, are a number of house sites and souterrains. Near the south edge is the foundation of a rectangular house with a central hearth. Running north from this is a souterrain about 20m long, about one third of which is roofed. Rear the centre of the site is an L-shaped souterrain. The inner half, which is still roofed, can be entered through a creep and has an air :shaft. In the northern half of the site are a number of open sections of souterrain which may be all part of the same structure. A short side passage leads to the foundation of a building. Foundations of other buildings may be identified throughout the site.

Ballywalter Motte (J266883) was viewed from the edge of the field. It is about 5m high and may be surrounded by a shallow ditch. However close inspection was not possible. A rath in Carnmoney was inspected (J33?84?). A large dished platform is surrounded by a substantial ditch and bank. The site was excavated in 1968-9 and is now dumped-on and overgrown. Another rath in Carnmoney (J333824) overlooks the cemetery. This is Dunaney Fort. It has a high dished platform surrounded by a deep ditch and a substantial outer bank. The site is enigmatic in that the bank is higher than the platform. However some changes may have been made during WW2 when there were gun-emplacements in this area.
Air photographs have revealed a series of low ridges and banks in Ballyutoag (J274796). Excavation of the area suggests that this may have been an 8th century upland village of more than 20 houses with accommodation for about 100 people. There is little to be seen at ground level.

Antrim Round Tower (J154878) is a very fine example. It stands to full height with a conical roof. Above the doorway, on the outside, is a ring-headed cross in relief. Close to the tower is a large boulder with two bullauns.



TOURS