Ally

Court Tomb - County Tyrone

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H 25718 72426 (GPS 31min.) Visited June 2002

Ally stands close to the road in Lough Bradan Forest, about 1km north of the Lough itself. The forest is a dense conifer plantation, but the area around the tomb had just been cleared prior to our visit, access to the site is via a track opposite the nearby waterworks complex.
Although there was no sign of the gallery back slab, the extent of the surviving side slabs show that the gallery here was a long one. We could see no trace of jamb stones, but published accounts mention a gallery divided into two chambers. The only surviving roof section is the lintel itself, this is in two pieces, either by original design, or perhaps because of splitting, it is currently crowned by a luxuriant topknot of vegetation. The gallery entrance is blocked by dry stone walling which is part of the remains of a sheepfold built over the court area of the tomb. We could not make out the original extent of the court area, the court stones and cairn material were probably recycled during the construction of the later sheepfold.
Some distance behind the gallery remains is a small subsidiary chamber with an entrance on the east side of the cairn. The chamber seemed very well preserved, but was covered by thick vegetation during our visit. The gabled backstone was prominent, as was the surviving corbelling on both sides of the chamber, but the chamber entrance and any surviving approach structure was completely buried in dense growth.
Built on what looks like a natural rise, Ally must have been an impressive sight when its cairn and court were intact.

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