Court Tomb

At Ballybriest in County Derry are the remains of a dual court tomb. The chambers were set back to back on a different axis. Unfortunately the northern half of each court was removed during land clearance in the 19th century. The gallery of the western tomb, pictured below, is the better preserved of the two. It appears to be divided into two chambers. The large stone at the left of the image is the backstone of the gallery. In the centre of the image you can see one of the orthostats that divided the gallery. Both of the tombs were set within a large oval cairn.

The image below shows the entrance to the above gallery with a portion of the forecourt to the right. The tomb was excavated in 1937. Several flint knives and sherds of neolithic pottery were found.

All that remains of the eastern tomb, pictured below, are the southern half of the forecourt and some of the southern gallery. The large stone below right, is part of the gallery, the forecourt would have been to the left in this image. the stones in the left foreground are probably field clearance. In the background on the other side of the road can be seen a quarry that has swallowed up another megalithic chamber.

Wedge Tomb

Pictured below are the remains of a wedge tomb that was dug out of the bog, this wedge tomb was built, before the bog began to grow, in two thousand BCE. It is situated around 150 metres south of the court tomb. At the time of our visit the tomb was inaccessible.

Situated: From Draperstown take the B47 south, then take the B162 south for Cookstown, after 31/2 kilometres bear left at the junction the tombs are about 1 kilometre down this road.

Discoverer Map 13: H 7613 8857. Last visit July 2006.

Longitude :6° 49' 4" W. Court tombs

Latitude: 54° 44' 21" N

Google Map.

Photo: Jim Dempsey.

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