The Post Medieval Period commences with the Irish Wars and then Plantation (1605-1690). New settlements sprung up as land previously held by native and
Anglo-Norman or Anglo-Irish families was confiscated and given over to Loyal British Protestant subjects, mainly Scots and English. During this period most of the tower houses appear and develop, new towns are formed and many fortified sites such as star-shaped forts appear in the landscape. Around the shores of Lough Neagh there four tower houses dating to this period which are still standing and these are; O’Connor Stronghold on Derrywarragh Island; Shane’s Castle; Mountjoy Fort at Magherlamfield; and Salterstown Castle. (Image: Bartlett’s Map of Lough Neagh c. 1602. Crown Copyright.)
The Post medieval period is also the period during which many of the surviving demesnes where first conceived. From the early 18th century Irish landed
estates grew and developed, with many early mansion houses created as their centrepiece. These sites are also an important source of evidence for farming, woodland management and industry. For Lough Neagh demesnes were located at Antrim Castle, Langford Lodge, Shane’s Castle and also Portmore Castle. During restoration works at Antrim Castle Gardens excavations to identify the original garden layout were carried out by Terence Reeves-Smyth and Malachy Conway in 1991 and 1994. (Image: Salterstown Castle.)
Towns during this period also attest to greater trading with Britain and Europe and canals and inland waterways where also developed to permit exploitation of natural resources such as stone, ores and even coal (see section on Economy). Ireland also saw a significant industrial boom or development in linen production the remains of which survive as scotch and beetling mills, bleaching greens and other allied industries. Also during the 18th century the first formal road networks were developed through presentment. Towards the end of the 18th century and into the 19th century, Britain’s war with France also had an impact with the appearance of coastal watch towers known as Martello towers.
Industry also continued with linen manufacture, though much mining and speculation occurred through Ireland in this century. One of the biggest impacts on the landscape in this industrial age was the appearance of the railway, which in part led to the demise of the inland waterways. The railways themselves were later to suffer in development through the invention of the combustion engine and the further development of the roads network throughout the county. The 20th century is what we mostly see as the surviving remains around us today. Apart from domestic and industrial buildings the world war conflicts have also left significant remains, now mostly forgotten and disappearing, such as airfields, temporary camps, radar stations, coastal lookouts, training ranges, pillboxes and antiaircraft batteries. Lough Neagh played on active role during WWII with three airfields based on the lough shore at Toome, Cluntoe and Langford Lodge and a flying boat station in Sandy Bay. Remnants of defence structures are a pillbox at Shane’s Castle Park and a heavy anti-aircraft battery at Ballymacrevan.