Ballymacaldrack Court Tomb, Antrim, Ireland

Ballymacaldrack Court Tomb, also known as Doeey’s Cairn, is situated on the east side of Long Mountain in County Antrim, its an area rich in court tombs with at least eighteen other graves in the area. This well preserved court tomb has a couple of features that set it apart from others dotted around Ireland, firstly most court tombs are usually aligned north-south, this tomb is faces south-west. The U shaped court area is flanked by eleven upright slaps, two portal stones mark the entrance to the chamber. Behind the first chamber are two more portal stones that lead to a six metre passage. During excavations in 1975 it was found three pits along the passage contained the cremated bones of five or six adults, this feature makes it one of the only court tombs I am aware of that has a cremation passage. The tomb was excavated twice, first in 1935 where polished axe heads, flint arrows and decorated pottery were found. The reason for the name Dooey’s Cairn relates to Andrew Dooey whose family owned the land, they granted the land to the state in 1976, this was after a 1975 excavation was carried out. This investigation centred around the cremation passage and was the first uncovering of the cremated bones, the archaeologists could also ascertain that the passage originally had a timber roof and a cobbled floor. Charcoal recovered from excavations gave a date of between 3000 to 2500 BC. Dooey’s Cairn is an easily accessed tomb, well maintained and it has its charms, worth a visit.

GPS: 55.00162, -6.40455

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