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Crew Hill

On 27th April 2013 the group visited Crew Hill.

 

crew_stone_and_man

 

This was a most important visit for our group. We visited the site which
was the crowning place of the ancient Ulster kings ; the site originally
consisted of an inauguration stone surrounded by trees where the King
would be appointed by his clan .This was "Craeb Tulcha", the sacred tree,
literally "spreading branch", now known as Crew Hill (Crewhollage), near
Glenavy. 

A great battle was fought there in1004, in which the Cruthin
King, the Ulidian King and many princes of Ulster were killed - indeed,
complete disaster was possibly only averted because the victorious O Neill
King was himself one of the fatalities.  After a second battle here in
1099, which was lost by the Cruthin, the sacred tree was cut down as a
final insult after the battle. This marked the end of the overall
authority of the Cruthin in Ulster.
crew_stone_postcard
At that time the people worshipped in a similar fashion to Druids and
natural  life such as certain trees were absolutely sacred; the King would
turn around three times reciting an oath with his foot upon the stone as
part of the ceremony . This was common practice at other sites such as
Dunadd Fort in Scottish Dalriada, the stone of the Magennis in Newry , and
also at Portrush where the stone later became known as the Witch's Chair .
Although the site is listed by the Northern Irish Tourist Board and
Lisburn Council , having been the subject of an archaeological dig by
Queen's University in the 1980's. We were shocked to see a telephone mast
and sub station has been built  only a short distance away , we are
launching a petition to fence off the immediate site of the stone to save
for posterity .

After the visit we were given a lecture by Dr Ian Adamson on the significance of the 
area and its people and received copies of his excellent book, Dalaradia.