Annadorn Dolmen, Down, Ireland

Annadorn Dolmen is situated on a small hill at Buck’s Head on the north-east shore of Loughinisland Lake, overlooking the three small churches of Loughinisland in County Down (featured previously). Though Annadorn has been described as a dolmen an early account in 1802 by O.D. Dubordieu describes what sounds far more like a passage tomb as it mentions the tomb being situated within a cairn, “’which is about 60 yards, and towards the bottom, a large smooth stone, of a square figure, from seven to eight feet over, and supported by several other stones above three and a half feet high, forming underneath a kind of chamber, in which were found ashes, and a number of bones to appearance human; upon the surface of this large stone, when the smaller stones which were pyramidically (sic) arranged were removed, a quantity of black ashes were found. The entrance to this chamber was towards the north, and under several flat stones regularly disposed in front of each other, and extending to the outside of the cairn; these stones were some years ago taken away for building.” Another possible explanation could be that the supporting stones were originally upright but have now collapsed under the weight of the capstone, this may mean that Annadorn was a tripod dolmen typical of others in the region, such as Legananny and Ballykeel (both previously featured).

Annadorn dolmen was the site of a large meeting of United Irishmen in 1803 held by Thomas Russell on July 22nd. He was trying to incite the men to join in Robert Emmet’s rebellion, Russell had been a staunch United Irishman, and indeed was at its inaugural meeting in 1791, and was held in high esteem by Wolfe Tone and Henry Joy McCracken. However as Russell gave his speeches at both Annadorn and Loughinisland he was unaware that the next day the rebellion in Dublin would be called off, and sadly these meetings sealed his fate. He was arrested in Dublin on September 9th and brought to Kilmainham. On October 12th he was brought from Kilmainham to Downpatrick under heavily armed escort due to his profile. At 12 noon on October the 21st he was hanged for High Treason. Thomas Russell was a prominent United Irishman, a strong supporter of women’s rights, an abolitionist and a critic of British Imperialism throughout the colonies, “If the English, or any other people, think gold a sufficient cause to shed blood-if they are satisfied to fill the world with carnage and misery, that they may acquire cloves and nutmegs, and contracts, and slaves-let it not be so with us.”

GPS: 54.34193, -5.80359

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