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Photographer's Note

Located on a level terrace on the southeastern slopes of Sleive Gullion is a well-preserved court tomb known as Ballymacdermot Cairn. From this site panoramic views over the plain ofMeigh, Slieve Gullion and the ring dyke hills to the south can be enjoyed, a phenomenon that surely did not escape the early farming communities who built it over 6,000 years ago. Locally known as 'The Cashla', it is also spoken of as 'The Graves', and 'The Fairy Ring', and is reputed to be haunted.

A wedge-shaped cairn encloses the tomb, which is entered through a semicircular forecourt and a small antechamber. The tomb contains two stone-lined burial chambers which were once covered by 'large roofing stones', some of which still survive. Traces of the perimeter kerb are visible at the back and sides of the monument, but only rock outcrops to the front. Ballymacdermot Cairn has been investigated at various times in its history. In the nii1eteenth century it was opened by treasure-seekers, including John Bell of Killevy Castle, who unearthed an urn containing pulverised bone in one of the chambers. Mr Bell, writing in The Newry Magazjne in 18 I 6, described the chambered cairn of Ballymacdermot as a tamlachta or cairn.

More recently, during the Second Wotld War, some of the facade stones were thrown down and broken by the American Army on tank manoeuvres. In 1962 the cairn was excavated and sherds of pottery and worked flints were recovered, but owing to the acidic nature of the soil, only a few fragments of cremated bone were found. After excavation the site was conserved, with fallen stones re-erected and broken ones repaired.


Thanks for looking :)

Gary

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Additional Photos by Gary McParland (codiac) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 38 W: 2 N: 297] (1756)
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