Lagan Valley

Saturday 3 December

The Giant's Ring (J327677) is a massive circular earthen bank about 4m high and 20m wide. It encloses an area about 200m diameter. Excavation has shown that the bank is made of material dug from the interior. There are five gaps but some of them may date from the last century. Just off centre is a dolmen, possibly the remains of a small passage tomb. The date and function of the ring is difficult to determine but it may be a late Neolithic ceremonial or assembly site. Excavation in an adjoining field in recent years has revealed traces of a number of enigmatic structures. These seem to have settings of very tall wooden posts, possibly with planks between. In the centre of each ring of posts there was a small rectangular wooden structure. This may have been a small hut or possibly a platform. The function of these structures is unknown but they may have been used as exhumation sites and may have been closely associated with the Giant's Ring.
At Drum Bridge the gateway to Drumbeg Parish Church is spanned by a very fine lych gate. A church is known to have existed here in the 17th century but the earliest remains date from 1798. There is a major bend in the River Lagan at this point and the many arches of Drum Bridge carry the main road over the flood plain. A short cut of the Lagan Navigation avoids the bend. There are good remains of a lock here and some good rope marks on the parapet of the bridge. The lock keeper's house (J306672) was designed by Thomas Omer and is one of two such buildings still existing on the navigation. Omer used the same design for canal houses in other parts of Ireland.

At Drumbo (J322651), in the graveyard behind the Presbyterian church, is the stump of a Round Tower. It is about 10m high. The lintelled doorway has inclined jambs. It is about 50cm wide and 1.7m high. It is about 1.5m above present ground level. There are no other early monastic remains at this site. Opposite the front gate of the churchyard is a double-wheeled pump of 1900. It is now badly damaged.

Duneight Motte and Bailey (J278608) were investigated. The motte is roughly triangular in shape and is guarded on the west side by a substantial ditch and bank. The Ravernet River forms the southern boundary. The D-shaped bailey extends to the east and there is a shallow outer ditch to the north and east.

There is a fine rath at Todd' Grove, also in Duneight townland (J280616). There are good inner and outer banks with a ditch between them. There are traces of an outer ditch on the north side. The rath platform is about 35m diameter and there is an entrance gap at the south.
The day ended with a visit to Lisburn Museum and Linen Centre. There is an extensive outline of the industrial history of the area. This includes static exhibits as well as demonstrations of spinning and weaving.