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Archaeology in the Ring of Gullion

The Ring of Gullion has a rich history from Megalithic, Iron age and through to the early Christian.



The archaeology in the Ring of Gullion is world renowned. The Ring of Gullion contains the remains of 20 or so large stone tombs. Many of them such as Ballymacdermot are situated in prominent positions with magnificent views over the surrounding countryside. The King’s Ring at Clontygora, and the Ballymacdermot tomb are two of the best examples of Court Tombs in the Northern Ireland. The monument at Ballykeel is also an outstanding example of a Portal Tomb and the South Cairn on the summit of Slieve Gullion has the distinction of being the highest surviving Passage Tomb in Britain or Ireland. Excavations at several of these burial monuments have uncovered stone tools, pottery and human remains. Areas around Carlingford Lough; Cooley, Mourne and Gullion, have been inhabited for centuries.

Proposals for an Area of Significant Archaeological Interest covering the Dorsey Earthworks and surrounding lands, as a feature of wider importance to the whole of Northern Ireland are also in place in the AONB. The Dorsey forms a large enclosure or double set of earthworks thought to be part of Ulster’s defences in the Iron Age and possibly controlling access along an important route to Navan Fort near Armagh. ‘Dorsey’ is derived from the Gaelic, Na Doirse, which means ‘the Gateways’.

Click through the right-hand menu in this section to read about the archaeology of Annaghmare, Ballykeel, Ballymacdermott, Clonlum, Clontygora, Killeavy Old Churches, Kilnasaggart Pillar Stone, Moyry Castle and Slieve Gullion passage tomb – Ireland’s highest surviving passage tomb.

The Historic Environment Map Viewer is a great place to start for anyone researching their sites of built heritage, click here to open the map (external site).

Lottery Funded
NIEA DoE N&M DC Biodiversity

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Ring of Gullion AONB
Crossmaglen Community Centre,
O’Fiaich Square,
BT35 9AA.

Tel: +44 (0)330 137 4898


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