Sworn Stone Ardnamoyle Hill

Having finally realised that it will take forever to walk all of Inishowen, I concentrate now on the area around ‘Greenan’ Hill in the hope to understand at least the layout of the landscape if nothing else.

The architecture of ‘Grianán Aileach’ seems to mirror its surroundings. Hillocks and hills circle ‘Greenan’ Hill nearly like the rather flamboyant styled ramparts, leaving the only gentle approach to the north -east, where the ancient road seem to lead down towards today’s Bridgend. Even ‘Grianán’s’ eastern half of the wall is more substantial than the rest – and so is the Holywell hillrange on the same side. Ardnamoyle lies south of ‘Greenan’ and has Drumbarnet and Bogay Hill in a five past ten position of its location when facing south with Drumbarnet at ten and Bogay at about five past. A road runs between Ardnamoyle and Bogay towards Port Lough, another one between ‘Greenan’ and Ardnamoyle/Drumbarnet towards Manners Town and Carrowreagh.

Detail of Griffith's Map

Passing the road to the summit of ‘Greenan’ Hill, the turn on the left for Manners Town/Carrowreagh and the turn for Bohullion/Burt on the right, there lies a rock outcrop just beyond the derelict cottage. In the field behind is a circular mound visible, which is most likely man-made. Sadly the family in the first house to the right, who let me park the car, had left by the time I came back and I only had inquired about the Sworn Stone, which they had seen but knew nothing about the name or any legends or stories attached to it.

Having fought through much xmas tree potentials on top of the usual gorse and brambles, I reached the eastern side of the hillock on which I found the stone standing in a dent of Ardnamoyle. There were no markings I could detect but everything about it was so disturbingly unremarkable, that I failed to be more thorough. I could not make, for the life of me, head or tail as to the purpose of the stone or the hill in the context of a greater scheme, beside the above mentioned similarity to the layout of ‘Grianán’, which only dawned on me some days later. There is a possibility that this part of the summit was once encircled, with some loose stones hinting towards it, leaving the Sworn Stone outside and on its north-eastern approach.

One of the loose stone on the western side, just below the small summit, was nearly of the same size and shape as the Sworn Stone. But as I said, at the moment the hillock’s function and significance lamentably escapes me, making it quite clear, that much more walking and learning has to done.

On the south/ south-west flank of Ardnamoyle Hill lies another, possibly man-made, mound in the field east of the forest road. There are enough building material stones in the field walls nearby.


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