Clontygora Court Tomb, Armagh, Ireland

Clontygora Court Tomb is situated at the foot of the Anglesey Mountain, with views over the plains of Meigh towards Slieve Gullion. Clontygora comes from the Irish ‘Chluainte Gabhra’ meaning ‘meadow of goats’,; it is also known locally as the ‘King’s Ring’, and was built around 3500BC. Although much of this court tomb was damaged in the 19th century when stones were removed to build the first lock of the Newry Canal, and also for the quay at Narrow Water what still remains is grandiose and striking. The U shaped court at the entrance to the tomb gives us some idea of the diameter the original stone cairn which would have enclosed the site. Two portal stones lead into the first and most impressive gallery, the second and especially the third gallery are in far more ruinous state. Unusually Clontygora faces north, in the direction of a stream 100metres away, rather than towards the east as most court tombs do. The biggest excavation at this site was in 1937, when flint arrowheads, quartz, a polished stone axe, cremated bone and pottery were discovered. The 20th century folklorist TGF Paterson mentioned Clontygora in his writings on Armagh, “The King’s Ring was a grand place once, but they took stones to build the lock on Newry Canal. There was a time when there was music in the ring. It was quare music, one minute it would coax the heart out of you, and the next it would scare the living daylights out of you. Maybe it is laments for the oul’ kings that are played.”

GPS: 54.11218, -6.3209

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