Louth & Down



Saturday 25 January
The souterrain in Drumad Forest (J078156) was investigated. There is a good lintelled entrance more than 0.5m high and less than 1m wide. The passage opens rapidly becoming more than lm high. About 5m from the entrance a passage about 5m long goes off to the right. It is less than 1m wide at the entrance and opens to about 1.5m wide at the inner end. The main passage continues for at least another 5m and curves slightly to the right. The height increases to more than l.5m. After about another 10m it closes rapidly to less than lm high and curves sharply to the left where it is blocked. Any souterrain which existed beyond this point has been destroyed by the construction of the forest road.
The megalithic structures at Aghnaskeagh (J076137) were visited. The northern structure consists of the three orthostats of a tripod dolmen. The portal-stones are almost 3m high and the back-stone is about 2m high. The tomb is set in an oval cairn about 20m long by 10m wide which is surrounded by a modern wall. About 50m to the south is another modern enclosure containing a low cairn with a possible court-grave and a number of cists.

The graveyard at Faughart Upper (J059126) contains a ruined rectangular church. Beside it is the supposed burial place of Edward Bruce. A short distance to the west of the church is a low circular mound with a good kerb. On top of this is a pyramidal stone with a socket which is probably all that remains of a High Cross. A short distance further west is a horseshoe-shaped mound with a good entrance in the east. To the north of the church is St Brigid's Holy Well which has a good conical cover. Beside the well is a large rag-tree. The stones in the graveyard are mainly 19th century with some modern burials. There is a good selection of winged angels' heads.
About 200m to the west of the churchyard is a good motte (J057126) about 10m high and surrounded by a ditch. It is greatly damaged on the north side and has been extensively quarried on the south side. The souterrain reported near the north side could not be located.
In Castletown, Dun Dealgan motte (J029083) is a massive structure surrounded by a deep ditch and a substantial bank. The motte is topped by the remains of a late 18th century castellated house and the curving driveway encircles the southern slopes of the mound. In a field nearby is a standing stone (J030084). It is about 1m high and less than 1m square. The castle to the northeast is a large tower-house with four projecting rectangular corner towers. It was viewed in passing.

Castleroche, in Roche townland, is a massive structure situated on a rocky outcrop. The entrance in the east wall is flanked by two towers and protected by a rock-cut fosse. At the south of the irregular courtyard are the remains of a two-storeyed hall and in the centre is a fragment of a small square keep. There are remains of crenellations in the curtain-wall and also traces of the allure. There are vaulted rooms at the west corner.
At the edge of Louth village, in the townland of Priorstate, are the ruins of Louth Abbey (H956014). This large rectangular church has traces of a cross-wall dividing nave and chancel. There are five windows in the south wall of the chancel and remains of a large east window with a small weathered mask.

The graveyard has a number of plain stones as well as many walled burial enclosures along the east and west boundaries. There is a great deal of burial debris (bone fragments etc). A short distance to the west is a small rectangular church known as St Mochta’s House. The entrance is in the west. The ground floor has a vaulted roof with a narrow stairway in the NE corner leading to the croft. There is a high-pitched stone roof. On the village green, near the churches, is a weighbridge and a pump.
Sunday 26 January

The megalithic tomb at Burren (J134226) was viewed from the roadside. The structure consists of two sidestones supporting a capstone. There are remains of a cairn but much of this material may be modern. The capstone is about 1m wide by 2m long and 40cm thick. Excavation evidence suggests that this is the remains of a court-grave.
The megalithic remains at Milltown (J133247) are possibly of a double court-grave. It is aligned approximately N-S with good traces of a northern court and at least one burial chamber in the southern tomb. The site is greatly overgrown and there is a great deal of cairn material. Some of this may be due to recent field clearance. A short distance to the north-west is a standing stone.

The court-grave at Edenmore (J148258) is a large and complex structure. It lies on either side of a field boundary. On the east side the tomb is denuded of cairn material. The principal remains are three stones of the east arm of the court and at least one burial chamber to the north. The west arm of the court is missing or hidden in the field boundary. To the west is a great deal of cairn material within which are at least two subsidiary burial chambers.

Mayo standing stone (J161266) is a large piece of granite about 3m high and at least 1m square. The standing stone at Barnmeen (J172330) is of similar height but thinner. It is shouldered at little above half height.
The remains of Glenny's Mills (J127288), in Desert townland, were examined. The small mill to the east of the wheel has been totally removed as has the small mill-office to the south. The breast-shot wheel is about 1.7m wide and 5m diameter. The remaining mill is five storeys high with a four-storeyed addition at right angles. The higher section is totally gutted and there is evidence of at least two pairs of millstones. The lower section contained a corn-kiln. The brick ovens are in good condition but the drying floor no longer exists. Evidence of its former existence can be seen (perforated tiles, wire mesh etc). Within this section of the building are two Archimedean screws which presumably were used to transport grain within the mill.



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