Ulster History Park, Louth & Newry Canal



Saturday 2 May

The Ulster History Park (H483823) was visited. There is a very fine dolmen at the entrance. The park is still being developed and the present exhibits include mesolithic and neolithic dwellings, a rath, a crannog, a monastic settlement and a motte & bailey. There is also a wedge tomb and a stone circle. The rath has a good souterrain and the monastic settlement has a very fine Round Tower and stone church. It is planned to build examples of all the megalithic tombs and a planter's bawn. An exhibition centre is under construction.

Three churches in Ballygawley were viewed. The Presbyterian (H627577) and Church of Ireland (H625576) show little of interest. The Catholic church (H631574) was opened in 1983 and has a loft light over the altar and some good stained glass.
A conducted tour of the stables at the Bishop's Palace, Armagh (H877443) was interesting but not exciting. The chapel nearby has a fine portico with ionic columns. There are good pews and a bishop's chair. Some of the stained glass is originally l8th century. There is an ice-house nearby but it was not closely inspected.
Sunday 3 May

Haynestown Castle (J043024) is a square building with four round flanking towers at the corners. It is greatly overgrown with ivy and all the doorways are blocked. The interior could not be inspected. The tower may be three storeys high. Beside it is the parish church of St Paul. To the south (J043021 ) is a poor motte and bailey.
Killincoole Castle (0001998) is a square tower with flanking towers projecting at the north and south corners. The north tower contains the remains of a spiral stairway. A modern stairway in the south tower leads to above the vault. The castle is four storeys high but the interior was not fully explored. The small church nearby (N997994) has little of interest but in the graveyard are a number of memorials to the Vere Foster family.

Roodstown Castle (N996935) is a square tower four storeys high. There are square flanking towers at the SE and NW corners. The SE tower contains a spiral stairway. There are garderobes in the NW tower. Both towers rise above the main roof level and there are smaller roof towers at the other two corners. The doorway in the east wall is protected by a murder-hole. The castle is vaulted above the ground floor. There are both single and double-light windows. Some of them have window-seats.

There is a very fine motte behind the Catholic church at Dromin (O029895). The old church and graveyard across the road (O030894) contain a fine collection of gravestones including one with an Annunciation and another with a Nativity.






The ecclesiastical remains at Dromiskin (O054982) were viewed. The Round Tower is only about 4m high with a conical top and a round-headed doorway.

Only the east gable of the old church remains. It features a two-light window which replaces an earlier blocked window. Part of the head of a High Cross has been erected on a modern shaft. It features animal and human figure carving. The Church of Ireland building is now completely derelict.
Milltown Castle (0034993) is a rectangular tower with projecting round towers at the east and west corners. It is four storeys high and is vaulted above the ground floor. The east flanker contains a spiral stairway which has been replaced to first floor level by a broad wooden stair. There is a modern entrance at the base of the stair. The original entrance was to the left of this tower and it was protected by a murder-hole. The west flanker has garderobes at the first and second floor levels. The stairs rise to the roof where there is a good allure.
Monday 4 May
At Tallyho Bridge on the Newry Canal (J064451 ) is Lock No 12. The lock is in very good condition and the upper gate is almost intact. A short distance northwards Lock No 13 (J063453) is also in good condition but little remains of the gates.

At Madden Bridge (J052473) buildings along the towpath may be canal stables or stores. Knock Bridge (J039508) was built in 1861 by R Lucas & Son, Soho Foundry, Newry. The piers have some good rope-marks and a benchmark. Moneypenny's Lock No 14 (J031512) has been renovated by the local council and houses a small museum. The lock is in good condition but there are no gates. The piers of the bridge have a variety of mason's marks. There is a lock-keeper's house here and stalls for the horses.



TOURS