Top 5 archaeology sites in Northern Ireland

Malachy Conway, Survey Archaeologist shares his top five archaeologically significant sites in Northern Ireland.

    Dunseverick Castle, County Antrim

    The ruins of Dunseverick Castle

    A fortified promontory site established around 500BC. It was plundered by the Danes in 870 and 924. The site became a manorial centre of the Earls of Ulster from the 13th-century and was destroyed by Cromwell's troops around the 1650's.

    Castle Carra, Cushendun, County Antrim

    Cushendun Bay in Northern Ireland

    A prominent tower house of late 13th or 14th-century date, built over a Mesolithic flint working site. Abandoned within a century or so of its construction, the tower house was subsequently used as an infants' cemetery at the end of the medieval period. Close by to the site lies a number of Early Bronze Age Standing Stones.

    Whitepark Bay, County Antrim

    An overview of White Park Bay, Northern Ireland

    Coastal beach with sand dunes containing an early Bronze Age barrow or tumulus. The property has over the years revealed numerous hut sites and settlement evidence of later Neolithic or Bronze Age date, including collections of prehistoric flint tools.

    Castle Ward, County Down

    View of the classical side of Castle Ward with Strangford Lough beyond

    The earliest archaeological remain on the estate is a possible late Neolithic portal tomb. The property was first established around 1570 with the construction of a fortified tower house at Old Castle Ward in 1590. Castle Ward is perhaps best known for its 18th century buildings particularly the mansion house, unique in Ireland as having one facade classical and the other gothic.

    Crom, County Fermanagh

    The ruins of the old tower-house at Crom, Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

    Nestled in the Fermanagh lakelands, this estate has revealed evidence of prehistoric settlement and other activities, though as a demesne it was established in the 17th-century. The original plantation castle, constructed in 1611, withstood two Jacobite sieges in 1689, but after a fire in 1764 was turned into a mock gothic ruin within an outstanding landscaped park.