Linford Barrows is a pass overlooking Ballygalley, which in turn can be found between Carnlough and Larne on the A2, the coastal road that runs north from Belfast. Even without any prehistoric relicts, this pass would always be worth a visit, just for the wonderful view over the Antrim Coastline and The Maidens. The latter ones are a group of rocks with a light house that lay a couple of miles east in the Irish Sea.

panorama1

Whether the people in the Bronze Age appreciated the view very much will probably remain an unanswered question. They however for sure appreciated the easy defendable position, as is obvious by the huge amount of earthen walls that are all over the place. Also, there was a major settlement on the mountain that can be seen on the right edge of the photo above.

The double earthen wall with pitch defending this settlement shown on the picture below can still be seen quite easily. The break in the wall slightly left of the middle of the picture might have been a gate to allow small vehicles to enter or leave the village.

settlement

The strategic significance of the pass in these times however is best documented by the cashel, a stone built structure situated on a small hill and overlooking the road. This cashel was a true fort defending the pass. It is unfortunately a little bit difficult to take a photo of it as the next hill overlooking the place is already quite some distance away. However, it can be seen on the photo below, just above the parking space and marked with a red circle.

pass

The two barrows marked with a yellow circle are Bronze age burial places. The speciality of these two are that they have been built in a pit so that the top of them has just the same level as the surrounding country side.

The reason for this unusual design is unknown, but my personal suspicion is that these people did not want the silhouette of these graves to show too distinctively against the sky when seen from a ship travelling along the Irish coast. Why? Now, a significant number of ships in these days were pirate vessels, and whoever built these graves probably did not want them to be looted...

The remaining two pictures show the barrows from a closer distance and in more detail.

barrows1
barrows2