Cromla no longer a suspect

I received an email from Seoirse Ó Dochartaigh.

Hi Bettina,
I think I have found the Crom hill. It’s not Greenan! It’s actually very close to where I live. The information about the river sources was important as I found the source of the Bredagh River on the hill. The hill is now called Crockaulin (Cnoc Álainn – Hill of Beauty) and there is some evidence of caves there close to the road as mentioned in that page you gave me. I haven’t explored it yet but I will one day when I’m not busy. I could use The Arch Survey Book!!!

The hill is the highest at 325 meters (1074 feet) of a cluster running from west to east towards Inishowen Head in the middle of a triangle between Moville, Greencastle and Kinnagoe Bay at a latitude of 55.2217 and a longitude of -7.01833.
The little information to be found is below.

Mabel Colhoun, The Heritage of Inishowen:
(Iron Age or later)
Td. Ballybrack
1943 (13.5 ins. N. 5 ins. E) Alt. 100ft. About 1 mile N.E. of Moville on road to Greencastle, at S.E. side of road 0.25 mile from the sea. Arable. View restricted. The circular fort is on a loop of land high above the stream which surrounds it on three sides, being closest on the W. It is barely discernible owing to whins and heather, and with little of the surrounding bank left. The bank at the S. appears to be worn away and the edge of the enclosure irregular; the rest of the bank, except at the N.E. is only a few inches high. The enclosure is grass-covered and fairly level.
Interior diameter N.E., – S.W. ……..83 ft.
Interior height of bank at N.E. ………3 ft.
Exterior height of bank at N.E. ……..2 ft.

Standing Stone
Td. Ballybrack
1943 (15.25 ins. N. 5.75 ins. E.) Alt. 190 ft. About 0.25 miles further from Moville than (22/5), the road divides, lower fork on right leading to Greencastle, left or N.E. Fork to Shrove by upper road. Site about 300 yards at left or N.W. Side of road. Arable. Clear view except for higher ground 0.25 miles distant to N.
The standing stone faces N.E.-S.W. And leans at a sharp angle. It is a hard grey stone curiously weathered in horizontal bands, 2 ins wide and 2 ins. Deep, in holes or hollows.

Height………….. 6ft. 6 ins.
Width…………… 3 ft.
Thickness………….. 11 ins.

Td. Ballybrack
1944 (20.5 ins. N. 4.5 ins. E.) Alt. 630 ft. About 1 mile N.N.W. As crow flies, from (22/7). Just before reaching latter, road branches to N.W. Passing St. Mary’s R.C. Church, through Ballybrack; at topmost field of cultivation level on right or E. of road. Cross field, site in next field. Mountain pasture, heather, boggy. Unrestricted view over lough and sea, rising ground to N.

Site contains:
(a) A well
(b) A circular stone enclosure
(c) Alignments, and cluster of small stones

All are on the S. slopes of Crockaulin (1074 ft.). There is an old road running down the hill outside the E. field boundary.

(a) Well: In the centre of the field is a large well, used by cattle; a wall, now much overgrown, had been built to support the bank which apparently had been dug into in order to find the well.

(b) Circular Enclosure: Near one corner of the field is a heather-covered circular bank on a stone foundation. The enclosure is marshy with, in the centre, a slight height some 13 ft. in diameter which partly covers some stones which might suggest a wrecked cist. There seems to be a S. opening to the enclosure.

(b) Circular enclosure:
Interior diameter N.-S. …….30 ft.
Exterior diameter N.-S. …….47 ft.

(c) Alignments and small stones: All stones appear to be set in the ground in the same direction, those showing being not more than 1.5 ft above ground. There might be three parallel alignments, 6 ft – 8 ft apart, the longest being about 25 ft. From a distance the clusters of stone suggested habitation sites, such as boley huts, but on closer inspection it is difficult to follow any particular pattern. They remind me of sites near the Butterlope in the Sperrin Mountains examined by O. Davies years ago. To make sense of them they would need to be surveyed by an expert. It is reported that there are standing stones about 0.5 miles to the N.E. and at about the same altitude in Ballymacarthur. I found none.

Brian Lacy, Archaeological Survey of County Donegal (1983)
346 Ballybrack
OS 22:5:3 (176 381) 4OD 100-200 C633396
A standing stone 1.93m high x .92m wide x .29m thick. Situated on pasture land.

One curious and poetic entry was made by Maghtochair in his book Inishowen: Its History, Traditions, and Antiquities (1867), not quite located on or around Crockaulin, but close enough to mention.
“One morning early in Autumn, about 1,000 years before the Christian era, a venerable man might have be seen prostate on the beach at the foot of that promontory known as Inishowen Head. He knelt there to worship the sea god – to pour forth the gratitude of his heart to Neptune for the happy termination of a long and perilous voyage. His ship rode at anchor before him. No cloud darkened the deep blue of the heavens, the air was calm, the sky lustrous, the sun had just risen, and burnished with dazzling brightness the gentle ripple which played on the surface of the waters. The stranger was Ith, uncle of Milesius, who had sailed from Braganza, in Spain, in quest of the most western isle of the world, which a soothsayer had declared should be the final resting-place of his nation.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s