Trackways

Trackways are roadways of Bronze Age to Early Christian date which provide access across areas of marginal/waterlogged ground and are commonly found in central Ireland where there are vast areas of bog. They vary in size from simple brushwood hurdles to large roundwood timbers (tree trunks and large branches) overlying substructures of brushwood, gravel or stones depending on whether they provide local access through marshy ground or are actual roads allowing transport of people and goods across large-scale bogs. An example of the latter type is the Corlea Trackway dating to B.C. 148/147 which was discovered in Mountdillon Bog, Co. Longford. This trackway was constructed of massive planks overlying a brushwood substructure and was wide enough to allow a cart.

Plate-11-Derryloughlan-Trackway-1---Large

(Image: Derryloughan Trackway 1/TYR 055:011. Copyright Archaeological Development Services.)

Around Lough Neagh there are eight recorded trackways located along the southeast to southwest shore (an area of lowlying boggy ground) and one in the northwest corner. One of the southern trackways (Derryloughan townland) excavated in 1995 revealed a substantial structure consisting of roundwood timbers overlying a brushwood substructure dating between 768 and 517 BC. There is a tradition along the south shore of the Lough of a road leading from Coney Island to Armagh city which is known as St. Patrick’s Road and two trackways from Derryadd townland in Monitaghs parish were known by this name. Unfortunately there are no visible remains of either trackway. The tradition records that St. Patrick visited Coney Island via a causeway which extended from the mainland out to the island. This was probably the sand bar between the mainland and Coney which was removed during the 19th century as it proved difficult for barges to navigate.

Below is a list of the known trackways from the Lough Neagh area.

Trackways of Bronze Age to Early Christian date

Parish Townland SMR No.
Aghallon Montiaghs ANT 062:020 Though the site is mentioned in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs as a routeway/ causeway there are no visible remains
Aghallon Derryclone & Derrymore ANT 062:016 The sites is mentioned in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs but is unlocated
Montiaghs Derryadd/ Derrylileagh ARM 005:001 St Patricks Road – no visible remains
Montiaghs Derryadd/ Derrycorr ARM 005:002 St Patricks Road – no visible remains
Montiaghs Derrytrasna ARM 008:002 No visible remains
Tartaraghan Maghery ARM 002:007 St. Patrick’s Road – ‘bog road’ noted below peat
Clonoe Derryloughan TYR 047:028 Portion of a brushwood trackway excavated in 1995. Timber dated to between 768 and 517 BC
Clonoe Derryloughan TYR 055:011 Portion of a substantial timber trackway
Ardtrea Ballymaguigan LDY 047:037 The site is mentioned in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs as being destroyed