Altar of the Gods

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The Druids Altar in the Giant's Ring, Belfast, Co. Antrim looks impressive and no doubt was even more impressive when the capstone was in place. There are so many of these, what we always called "Cromlechs" when I was young, about the island and they hark back beyond the mists of time to a simpler age. I wonder what it looks like now and what has been found out about it?

Photographer: Unknown

Collection: Eason Photographic Collection

Date: between 1900-1939

NLI Ref: EAS_0462

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 4060
eason easonson easoncollection easonphotographiccollection glassnegative 20thcentury nationallibraryofireland thedruidsaltar passagetomb cromlech giantscircle belfast countyantrim northernireland ulster

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    • 05/Jan/2023 08:59:47

    Flickr is sometimes amazing! Looks like the tree has flourished. In February 2019 via[email protected]/[email protected]/32225184167/

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    • 05/Jan/2023 09:07:51

    It is a magnificent oak tree. Via

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    • 05/Jan/2023 09:12:00

    Wow! Druidview -

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    • 05/Jan/2023 09:19:31

    Droneview -

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    John Spooner

    • 05/Jan/2023 09:23:16

    The archaeological thinking in 1959. From Londonderry Sentinel - Wednesday 9 December 1959

    Noted Visitor To Giant's Ring The 4,000-year-old Giant's Ring at Ballylesson was visited last week by Dr. Glyn Daniel, the well-known radio and T.V. personality, who described it as "a most unusual and very rare type of monument". Dr. Daniel, a lecturer in archaeology and anthropology at St. John's, Cambridge, said he had wanted to see the structure for a long time. He examined the dolmen of nine large stones in the centre of the massive earthwork "ring" which is 250 yards in diameter and 15 feet high. . . It is „ believed that the dolmen and the earthwork were constructed as a funeral monument. The bank is divided into seven sections, and this indicates that the monument was probably erected by a monarch of seven confederate tribes.

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    John Spooner

    • 05/Jan/2023 09:41:15

    Dating evidence: I think we can confidently eliminate 12th July 1904 from our enquiries. On that day the Independent Orange Order held a mass meeting there.

    The Giant's Ring was reached at ten minutes to one o'clock. It is an ideal plane for an open-air gathering, forming, as it does. a natural amphitheatre. A platform was centrally sited above the old Druidical stone—for today's proceedings, and there were many refreshment stands. The brethren picnicked on the ground, where there were altogether several thousand people assembled. including many from Lisburn and adjacent districts. It was considerably after two o'clock when the proceedings commenced.
    (Lisburn Standard - Saturday 16 July 1904)

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    • 05/Jan/2023 09:41:21

    Here is some megazoom graffiti fun ... Mr French / Lawrence also visited - and other side Graffiti visible "Dick Boy 7/4/90" !! And "I Johnson 1889". So if Mr French was here about 1890, the oak tree is not much different in size. More graffiti via Stereo Pair - WR&S -

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    • 05/Jan/2023 10:54:54

    here is my contribution from a visit in 2007 in the 19th century the outer ring was used for horse racing. in the 21st century this has changed from racing to dogging...

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    • 05/Jan/2023 10:57:27

    “built around 2700BC, meaning that it predates the Egyptian pyramids.” - Wikipedia

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    • 05/Jan/2023 11:26:06 I like your photo, and imagine there is nothing new about dogging in this place, which could well be an enormous fertility symbol. The graffiti is a hint! Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

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    • 06/Jan/2023 00:23:23 that's my line!