Monday, July 17, 2017

The Ancient Ards: Ballyhalbert motte & standing stone

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SAM 1666 The Anglo-Norman motte at Ballyhalbert probably dates from around the early 1200s; the megalithic standing stone further down the slope could date from around 2000BC. There was another similar stone about a mile away at Ballyhemlin until fairly recently, and some accounts say a third one nearby but I'm not sure of the location. Further down the coast at Millin Bay is a network of burial chambers which is even earlier, around 3000 – 2500BC. It's a great spot for a sunrise breakfast picnic. And near there is Tara Hill, an ancient earthwork. Some geologists have suggested there might have been a 'land bridge' connecting Ireland and Scotland, at around 6000BC (see here).

IrishSights Archaeology has some great drone footage of various local features; Ardquin Abbacy below was where an 'Inquisition' was held to pin down which parcels of land were owned/claimed by local landlords, before King James VI & I approved the Hamilton & Montgomery scheme of 1606.