Arrowrock Lodge
BALLYNARY, LOUGH ARROW, COUNTY SLIGO. IRELAND. Tel: +353 71 9666073 /  +353 86 2233922
Arrowrock Lodge
Local Heritage and Historical Sites Near Arrowrock Lodge
There are over 5,000 archaeological sites in this part of the North West of Ireland and listed here are just a few of those within easy reach of Arrowrock Lodge.

There are 14 Tombs (cairns) located on the hilltops over looking Lough Arrrow and a further group of 6 cairns extending west towards Keshcorran Mountain.  The views alone make the walk to the tombs worthwhile, on a clear day you can Slieve League, Benbulben and Knocknarea (Queen Maeve's Tomb) to the north and Croagh Patrick to the west. 14 of the tombs were excavated in 1911 and large amounts of human remains (carbon dated to 5500 years old), pendants and pottery were found. There are various types of tombs to be found in Carrowkeel, from classic cruciform shape chambers with intact dry stone corbelled roofs to the most unusual consisting of a passage tomb at the north end with a blind court at the south. The type of pottery found is common to most passage tombs in Ireland and is known as Carrowkeel Ware.  Going West from the main group of tombs towards Lough Arrow in a area called the Doonavera Plateau you will find the remains of a Stone Age Village with about 80 hut sites visible.  It is believed that these were the homes of the builders of Carrowkeel.

Arrowrock Lodge is about 3.5 km from Heapstown Cairn, one of the largest cairns in Ireland. It is estimated to be at least 5000 years old. Heapstown Cairn is 60 mtrs in diameter, with a kerb of limestone slabs around the base.  It has never been excavated, but is probably a passage tomb and an extension of Carrowkeel. At one time it was much larger but was quarried to build local roads and walls at sometime in the 1800's.

Folklore has it, at the Battle of Moytirra (Moytura), Diancecht was the Tuatha de Dannann's physician, and he had created a healing well which cured the wounded De Danann warriors.The Cairn also known as Carn Ochtriallach, after the Fomoirean warrior who captured the well, and blocked it up with a pile of stones to stop Diancecht healing the wounded De Dannann's.

Another legend says it is the burial place of Aillil, brother of Niall of the Nine Hostages and ruler of this part of Sligo in the 4th century.

The Labby Rock is Ireland's second biggest portal tomb or dolmen, with a 70 ton capstone built during the Neolithic Period (c 4,000-2,500 BC).

It has not been excavated in recently, but human remains were found there in the 1800's.

It is called Labby after the Irish word for Bed - as this was one of the places where Diarmait and Grainne slept while fleeing the wrath of Fionn MacCumhaill after the couple eloped together, Grainne was promised in marriage to Fionn. Local folklore says it is the burial place of Nuada of the Silver Arm, king of the Tuatha de Dannan who was killed at the Battle of Moytirra by Balor of the Evil Eye, leader of the Fomorians.  Folklore claims that if a couple lie on top of Labby Rock you can be sure to have plenty of children as it has powers to make you fertile. You have been warned !!!!

Ambrose O’Higgins, father of Bernardo O’Higgins, was born in Ballynary in 1720. His son Bernardo was Liberator and First President of Chile.

It is now believed that Arrowrock Lodge is built on the site of the O'Higgins Family residence. The oldest parts of the hostel are known to date from the 1700’s and may well be much older so It is more than possible that Ambrose was born in the original hostel building.

He is referred to as Ambrosio O’Higgins in the Spanish speaking world and just a sample of his many titles give some idea of his colourful life. Don Ambrosio O'Higgins, 1st Barón de Vallenar (a town in Chile named after Ballynary), a title awarded by the King Carlos III of Spain in 1788 and 1st Marquis de Osorno, awarded by King Carlos IV of Spain in 1792.  He was also Viceroy for the King of Spain in Peru and Chile from 1796-1801.

Boyle Abbey is located about 10km from Arrowrock Lodge in the nearby town of Boyle and is amongst a number of attractions well worth visiting in the Boyle area.

Boyle Abbey is an impressive and well preserved Cistercian Abbey.  The Cistercians arrived in Ireland in 1130, reaching Boyle around the 1150. Building started on the Abbey in 1161 and continued until 1220 when the Abbey Church was consecrated. It has a typical Cistercian layout and is similar in plan to many other Cistercian Abbeys throughout Europe however Boyle Abbey has some interesting and unique features mainly due to it's mix of  Romanesque and Gothic styles.

The abbey was used as a military garrison from the mid 1500’s until the late 1700’s.

The Abbey has been extensively restored and guided tours take place daily during the summer months.

Ballinafad Castle is located on the south western corner of Lough Arrow, about 5km from Arrowrock Lodge. It was built in 1590 to defend The Red Earl's Road which passes by Ballinafad Castle as it crosses the Curlew's from Ballymote Castle to Boyle. Although a small castle such was its strategic importance that it became known as the Castle of the Curlews.

The castle is built in a style more common in the 13th Century, it had four floors, four towers and a drawbar. The castle is now a ruin and the timber floors and wooden stairway (in the west tower) are long gone. The entrance doorway in the northwest wall is almost entirely rebuilt but an original drawbar socket survives. Numerous openings for gun loops can be seen throughout the castle. Tall chimney stacks survive on top of the east and north towers.

The castle was only in use for about 90 years but it had a very eventful life, changing hands a number of times before being abandoned around 1680.
Arrowrock Lodge
Ballynary,  Lough Arrow,  Co. Sligo,  F52 X720,  Ireland.
+353 86 2233922 / +353 71 9666073
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Arrowrock Lodge

Ballynary,  Lough Arrow,  Co. Sligo,
F52 X720,  Ireland.

+353 86 2233922

+353 71 9666073

Ballindoon Priory is beautifully situated on the shores of Lough Arrow, about 2km from Arrowrock Lodge, and was built in 1507 for the Dominicans by the McDonagh clan who had a castle nearby.  This unusual Gothic style church has almost identical windows at each end.  The most remarkable feature of the church is the central tower and belfry, which also acted as a roof- screen, with a narrow passage and two rooms on the ground floor, and an arrangement of three arches on the first floor.
The tomb of Councillor Terence McDonagh who died in 1717 can be found in the nave.  He became the only Catholic barrister in Ireland during Penal times.  In front of his tombstone is another, belonging to Lame David O'Duigenan, a famous professional scribe who died in 1696.  He lived and worked in the area and was author of one of the surviving independent versions of the Battle of Moytura.

Outside the Abbey on a slight rise to the north-east is a bullaun stone known as Saint Dominic's Stone. The top of the stone has a cup-shaped hollow, almost always filled with water, and is know as a cure for warts.