Annaghmare Court Tomb

annaghmare-court-tomb

Annaghmare is one of the best preserved court tombs and is situated on a small knoll in a forestry plantation close to the Armagh – Monaghan border.
It’s secluded location in a clearing in the forest gives it an ambience that is often missing from other neolithic sites in the area and this is probably the best tomb to visit to feel a connection to the neolithic.

This long, trapezoidal-shaped cairn consists of a well-built court area which leads through two impressive portal stones to a gallery of three chambers.

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Towards the rear of the cairn are two more chambers (added at a later date), which lie at right angles to the axis of the cairn and are entered from the side. Excavations showed that these two chambers had never actually been used for burial.

The two rear chambers

The court is particularly well-preserved and contains some very large orthostats. Some of them are sure to have been chosen for their size and shape and probably placed in significant positions within the courtyard wall. Dry stone walling fills the gaps between the orthostats.
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When the cairn ceased to be used it was ritually sealed up by blocking the entrance with stones and then filling in the whole of the court area. It was filled with stones right up to the height of the tall orthostats, thus blocking the entrance and hiding all the large court stones from view until it was excavated about 5000 years later.

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Ballymacdermott Court Tomb

A very well preserved court tomb, built around 3,500 BC. It has a forecourt which leads to a gallery of 3 burial chambers.

Audleystown Dual Court Tomb

A double-ended tomb overlooking Strangford Lough in County Down

Audleystown Dual Court Tomb (3)
Showing one side of the cairn, with its revetment wall, forecourt and inner chambers

Audleystown is a good example of a dual court tomb and the layout is still very plain to see.
The wedge-shaped  cairn is nearly 27m long with a shallow forecourt area at each end and each forecourt has a gallery of 4 chambers leading in from it.
The long sides of the cairn are edged with neatly built dry-stone revetment walls.

Audleystown Dual Court Tomb (1)
The galleries leading inwards from each end of the cairn

Excavation in the 1950’s revealed much evidence of ritual. The bones of 34 people were found – 17 in one gallery and 17 in the other, some unburnt and some cremated.. The bones had been selected and placed in different parts of the chambers and some of the long bones and ribs had been carefully placed in parallel rows.

Audleystown Dual Court Tomb (2)
Primroses fill the burial chambers

Situated in an attractive position looking across the vast expanse of Strangford Lough

Strangford Lough