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“So peculiar”

Ballylumford Dolmen
Ranked #13 of 19 things to do in Whitehead
Attraction details
Whitehead, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
92 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 200 helpful votes
“So peculiar”
Reviewed 16 November 2013

It is very amusing to see this stuck right there in someones front garden. There's a joke about why did they put it there, of course it was built thousands of years before! You can see it on one of the roads to Ballylumford and Port Muck, up at the far end of Islandmagee. Just remember to slow down, or you might fly past it. The stones are huge and big and heavy, but they are set back a bit off the road and theres a tree that shades them a bit. Great for the kids to see something really prehistoric!

Visited November 2013
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4 Thank Mavis B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Carrickfergus, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
565 reviews
343 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,202 helpful votes
“The World’s Greatest Garden Feature”
Reviewed 5 March 2013

Imagine if you could go back, WAY back, 2000 years before St. Patrick landed, or 1000 years before the Celts arrived. Here you can.

Ballylumford Dolmen is at least 3500 years old, and may be much older. I’m no expert, but there would be far more forests around back then. Wolves lived here, lots of deer, and ancient Ireland had bears and wild boar. I think the people making the dolmen were farmers and were using metals. It is staggering to imagine how they got the capstone up on top. My armchair maths make it around 2.5 tonnes. Whoever was buried beneath must have really mattered to them. Locally the name “Druid’s Altar” was applied to it, but there’s no evidence druids had any connection to it. Only people 3 meters tall could have used it for a crooked altar, anyway.

What do you see? Four great basalt stones are planted in the ground, and a capstone, like a lid, is balanced on top of the points of three of them. I say “balanced,” but no force has shifted it in millennia. The stones don’t seem to have been shaped at all, although there are lateral grooves in the capstone which may have been cut into it.

Inside this arrangement is a tight space where currently there’s some small stone debris of a lighter colour. The whole thing is about human height, and gives an impression of tremendous solidity and permanence. There is lichen growing on the stones, plus an old spider web. The many centuries have left the surfaces decorated with all sorts of dazzling greens and rusty browns.

Many megalithic monuments are way off the beaten track in bogs or on windswept hills. Ballylumford dolmen is sat right in front of a house, right there on the B90 road. Ignore the very misleading address. Larne is on the WRONG side of a Lough to get here. Starting in Whitehead, follow the Islandmagee Road onto the B150 Ballystrudder Road out to the Islandmagee peninsula. Find the Ballylumford Road, and keep going north until you see number 91, on your right. Yes, this Stone Age marvel has a modern-day address.

In the 1800s some fool built a villa right there beside it. It has become perhaps the world’s grandest garden ornament. Yes, people live in the building today. A ring of bricks and a low black chain enclose the megaliths in a circle. These anachronistic additions are a vast annoyance, and yet it’s the modern road that will get you there, to see this wonder from an ancient world. I guess the house will have crumbled away in 1000 years, leaving the dolmen standing tall and proud against the sky in ages yet to come.

Visited February 2013
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1 Thank Steveodo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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