Dooey's Cairn

Dunloy, United Kingdom

Dooey's Cairn, or Ballymacaldrack Court Tomb, is a prehistoric site of the Neolithic period, situated near Dunloy, Northern Ireland. It is named after Andrew Dooey, who owned the land; the monument was granted to the state in 1975 by his family. It is maintained by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

Court tombs, or court cairns, are of the Neolithic period (c. 4000 to 2000 BC). There are about 400 in Ireland, and most of them are in the northern half of the island. A court tomb has an open area, bounded by upright slabs or drystone walling, in front of a chamber. It is thought that a ritual or social event took place here.

Dooey's Cairn is well preserved. Court tombs are usually aligned north–south, but here the U-shaped court, defined by eleven upright slabs, faces south-west of a small roofless chamber; two portal stones are at the entrance to the chamber. Excavation in 1935 found polished stone axes beneath the portal stones.

Behind the chamber are two more portal stones leading to a passage, length about 6 metres. This 'cremation passage', investigated during excavation of 1975, originally had a timber roof and a cobbled floor; it had three pits containing the cremated bones of five or six adult humans. It is the only court cairn in Ireland with a cremation passage.



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Founded: 4000-2000 BCE
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in United Kingdom

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Wagstaff (16 months ago)
Very cool, well signposted beautiful spot well taken care of
Helene Stevenson (18 months ago)
Interesting place for a picnic. No toilets. Quite good for dogs.
James McFadden (21 months ago)
Really cool and well kept area of historical significance
Colin Mcdonald (3 years ago)
It just a state moment good place to visit
Jason Crozier (3 years ago)
Magnificent Neolithic Court Tomb in a beautiful area. The site is well signposted and just off the road, encapsulated by a fence and green gate. You can tell it is appreciated by the local community as it is well maintained and in good condition. There are 2 signs with plenty of interesting info; some sites are lucky to even get one! There is some parking outside a manor house just across the road, but you might have to bring the car fully up onto the footpath. The court tomb itself is stunning in its preservation and doesn't take much imagination to appreciate; the full court and outer wall of large stones are still in position, with the tomb entrance and inner corridor still well defined.
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