A couple of weeks ago, we launched a new series of things you can see from the saddle – Is that an Obelisk? Some readers were disappointed that the Obelisk was relatively modern, so for our second article we’ve chosen something much older. If you look in the field just south of the big house at Millin Bay (about 7km south of Cloghy), you can just make out a ring of stones. This is Millin Bay Cairn.
This is a complex Neolithic burial monument constructed between 3000BC and 2500BC. It was excavated in 1953, and the bones of 15 people were found, carefully sorted by bone type. It is thought that the people were buried somewhere else first, and later moved here – possibly for some sort of ancestor worship.
The pictures below show a plan of the site and the 1953 excavations. Over 60 stones were uncovered, several standing higher than a man, surrounding a inner cist. Unfortunately the site was very fragile, and was therefore partially filled in again. Today, you can only see the tops of some of the stones.
And while you’re in the area…
There are lots of other historic sites worth visiting in this area. In addition to the better known ones like the National Trust village of Kearney and the healing waters at St Cooey’s Wells, here are a couple of other hidden gems.
Our Tour of Strangford sportive, set for 12th September this year, passes many of these sites, so be sure to keep an eye (and an ear) out for them.
Footnote – this website does not encourage or endorse trespassing on private land or ritualistic animal sacrifice.