A dolmen in my front garden? Don't mind if I do!

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Where: Northern Ireland, Antrim, United Kingdom

Try to find the spot where the photographer was standing.

When: 01 January 1900

Try to find the date or year when this image was made.
Not many people can boast a feature like this less than three paces from their front door. No wonder that gentleman looks quite pleased with himself...

Photographer: Almost certainly Robert French of Lawrence Photographic Studios, Dublin

Date: Between 1890 and 1914

NLI Ref.: L_ROY_10911

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 58465
druidsaltar dolmen islandmagee antrim ireland ulster northernireland dog robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland oileánmhicaodha macaodhasisland ballylumforddolmen capstone portaltomb ballylumfordroad druidscottage belfastmineralwatercompany steampunk victorian

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    whatsthatpicture

    • 25/Sep/2013 07:41:43

    Brilliant!

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 25/Sep/2013 07:51:34

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatsthatpicture Thanks James!

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:01:40

    Druids Alter, Islandmagee This is "Ballylumford Dolmen" or locally known as the Druids Altar. The Druids Altar could be 4000 years old, or it could be an even earlier passage grave. It consists of 4 upright stones, with a heavy capstone, and a fallenstone within the structure .This could have been put there to block the entrance to the tomb. islandmagee.webs.com/photos.htm

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:01:59

    Ballylumford.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:05:12

    OS 6" link at GeoHive.

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    derangedlemur

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:08:58

    He seems to be growing flowers in a crate balanced on top of a sea chest.

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:10:20

    There is a Dog

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    derangedlemur

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:11:34

    Belfast mineral water company, York street, would be where the crate's from.

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    robinparkes

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:14:33

    You're too quick for me! Been there :) www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9929798795/

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:20:23

    The house is named as Druid's Cottage on the 1921 OS map. There is a house by that name on the 1902-03 map, but it is not this house. So I'd say after 1903.

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:22:26

    I am Betting the man is Thomas McFerran www.census.nationalarchives.ie/reels/nai000359069/ Only two houses in the census with 5 windows. Listed as a Farmer.

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 08:23:07

    McFerran, Thomas, grain merchant, Druid's Altar www.lennonwylie.co.uk/PT19077.htm

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 09:01:28

    The 1913 phone book at Lennon-Wylie lists the Belfast Mineral Water Co. Ltd., Aerated Water Manufacturers on York Road. The 1884 map shows nada, as does the 1895. In the 1901-1903 map, the Belfast Mineral Water works appears, along with Mineral Street (which is still there!).

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 25/Sep/2013 09:38:33

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] So certainly could be Thomas McFerran, 52 in 1901 (though not living in this exact house in 1901 as http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley says this house not there until after 1903) and Belfast Mineral Water on York Road also gives us a post-1903 date - thanks again, Niall!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 10:14:54

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland Strictly speaking, the Mineral Water factory only gives us post-1895, but I think the maps are good for post-1902-03. Lennon-Wylie shows the manager of the Mineral Water factory on York road in 1901.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 25/Sep/2013 10:24:41

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Noted re the Mineral Water factory, but safe enough to stick with post-1903 I think, given your map dating savant-ness...

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    Swordscookie

    • 25/Sep/2013 11:05:34

    It's actually a very crisp shot with nice detail. I was mixing up my "magee's" and thinking this was in Kerry but that was Portmagee:-(((

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    oaktree_brian_1976

    • 25/Sep/2013 12:49:38

    Less grass to mow as well. I keep forgetting there's an Ireland and Northern Ireland, can't find it under one, google under the other one.

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    ccferrie

    • 25/Sep/2013 12:58:06

    The house is a really unusual design for that period - looks almost art deco in style.

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 13:13:02

    Whereas some megalithic monuments are difficult to find, this neat 'Druid's Altar' could hardly be more conspicuous or accessible: it even has an address, 91 Ballylumford Road, Islandmagee, the result of an unlikely juxtaposition of a house of the living alongside a house of the dead. Ballylumford dolmen (second image) When The Dublin Penny Journal published the accompanying woodcut in 1833, the tomb stood out as a solitary landmark at the relatively remote northern end of this peninsula. The present villa was built here later in the century and this 4000-year-old megalith became thoroughly domesticated, and is now a unique garden eye-catcher trimmed with flowers round the base..... An early account states that it was formerly surrounded by a circle of standing stones, probably the revetment of a cairn, any trace of which has disappeared. A gold collar reportedly found here long ago is unlikely to have had any connection with the dolmen.. www.irelandseye.com/aarticles/travel/nature/landscape/anc...

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    ccferrie

    • 25/Sep/2013 13:17:56

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] definitely not Art Deco then!

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 13:21:56

    Here they say the house is Edwardian? and also show what looks like part of the house in an ink sketch entitled Nineteenth-century ink sketch of Ballylumford Dolmen (JRSAI 16,1883-4). Who Knows? Ballylumford Dolmen (NISMR Ref: Ant 041:004) Situated in front of an Edwardian house on the summit of a steep sided N/S ridge. The megalith consists of three angular basalt orthostats on which is set a substantial capstone which tilts down to the distal end. Within the chamber is a recumbent slab. www.bnfc.org.uk/New_Site_BNFC/Islandmagee.html

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 13:29:49

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] I am thinking there was a house there and it was later remoddled or enlarged?

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    ccferrie

    • 25/Sep/2013 13:32:31

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Something doesn't add up there - Edwardian would make it >1901 but it says it's a 19th C. sketch?

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    ccferrie

    • 25/Sep/2013 13:33:40

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Possibly - the windows in this photo are different to the ones in the sketch, so they've been replaced at some point at least.

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    blackpoolbeach

    • 25/Sep/2013 14:04:12

    The man is there to feed the dog. The dog is there to keep the man off the dolmen.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 14:22:07

    Re-eyeballing the map, OS-10-1-41-5-1 is the 1902-03, and OS-10-1-41-5-2 is the 1921. They do look different, but at the highest zoom, the change seems to be that an adjoining older building (called Druid's Cottage in 1857) has been knocked down. In the archive is a shot with the adjoining building looking rather old. Also is a shot with the adjoining building looking renovated (and this house with a different paint job), and here the different paintjob and a different dog.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 14:23:58

    So, I'll have to withdraw my map-based post-1903 date, and fall back on the Belfast Mineral from York Road as being after 1895.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 14:54:16

    The DIA suggests the Belfast Mineral Water Company dates from 1886: Date: 1886 Nature: Office, stores, stables & yard. 'at present being erected'. Doesn't specify York Road though. It later refers to a factory and stores at York Road, but not until 1907.

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 15:10:48

    William John Arthurs was born in Carnspindle on May 4, 1853, and was baptized on May 14, 1853. He died on Oct.22, 1896, and is remembered in the above gravestone inscription. He may be the son who was known as Capt. Arthurs and who was associated with the Druids Altar, an ancient monument near Ballylumford. www.dankat.com/earls/chap6.htm

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 15:14:33

    Aha! A searchable archive of Belfast Street directories I had not seen before, over at PRONI (who also have a flickr page). The archive is here, search button at right.

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 15:16:14

    They say that the dolmen is aligned with the Winter solstitial sunrise here !!! www.cantab.net/users/michael.behrend/repubs/somerville_or...

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 15:18:30

    So, in 1887, the Belfast Mineral Water Company had an office on Garmoyle Terrace. In 1890 they list that office plus the York Road factory. So our dates get even less certain!

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 15:24:01

    By 1900, they were advertising medals in Brussels 1897 and the 1893 Worlds Fair in Chicago.

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    Swordscookie

    • 25/Sep/2013 15:32:24

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Danny the opposition have been thinking of you! http://www.flickr.com/photos/anmm_thecommons/9927420986/in/photostream/

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 25/Sep/2013 15:47:03

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Well, well, well, Niall! Turn my back for a moment and you're backtracking on dates, luring people off to the opposition (only joking, http://www.flickr.com/photos/proni/, honest!) and dangling online directories in front of people while I was up in our Stacks sweating over hard copy Belfast and Province of Ulster Directories. The online ones, while excellent, only go up to 1900 (trying to be mature, and not go Nah nah nah nah nah). I found out some dating stuff about Thomas McFerran, Druid's Altar and the next incumbent of the house between 1900 and 1914. Will put it together in some sort of logical format now...

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 15:52:09

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/swordscookie excellent

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 25/Sep/2013 16:28:45

    All from Belfast and Province of Ulster Directory: 1901 Thomas M'Ferran, grain merchant is living in Islandmagee, but at Ballycronnanmore 1902 It's only in this year that Islandmagee gets a much better introductory description before the listings for officialdom and other inhabitants start. Tourism is on the rise. 2 ferries; better railways; and a "fine new road" has been opened. This is the first year that the dolmen gets a mention:

    The Druid's Altar, at the residence of Mr. Thomas M'Ferran, Ballylumford, is well worth a visit...
    And in the list of inhabitants, M'Ferran is listed as living at Druid's Altar. 1909 Thomas M'Ferran disappears from the list of inhabitants, although the initial description of Islandmagee still says: "The Druid's Altar, at the residence of Mr. Thomas M'Ferran, Ballylumford, is well worth a visit..." 1910 Now the Druid's Altar is spoken of as being "at the residence of Mr. Saml. Crawford, Ballylumford" in the introduction to Islandmagee, and Samuel Crawford is listed under inhabitants as living at Druid's Altar. 1914 Druid's Altar still mentioned as worth a visit in introductory paragraph, but not attached to anyone by name. And Samuel Crawford is down as living at Ballylumford. Wondering if our gentleman could be Thomas M'Ferran or Samuel Crawford, if taken between 1900 and 1914. Despite much earlier options because of Belfast Mineral Water crate, I think the growing tourist industry around the Antrim coastline after the turn of the century could be important, making this a must-see / must-photograph point for Robert French, especially given the fact that Islandmagee wasn't even considered worth featuring in the directories before 1900.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 16:56:14

    From those other shots in the archive, French must have visited twice, and this shot is from the first visit. The house next door is unrenovated, there is no gate in the wall between the houses, the door is painted a dark colour and the dog is brown and white. The other set show the house next door renovated, the doorframe painted a lighter colour, the over-window detail on the house is light on dark instead of dark on light, and the dog has been painted black. There is at least a couple of years between the two visits, I'd say.

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    DannyM8

    • 25/Sep/2013 19:05:09

    I'm still betting on the man being Thomas McFerran Farmer or Grain Merchant TAG?

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    derangedlemur

    • 25/Sep/2013 19:38:54

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley re. dates and water: The crate says "York" on it.

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    blackpoolbeach

    • 25/Sep/2013 19:51:54

    I prefer the old Flickr photostream page instead of the new crowdy mash. www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/?details=1

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    Niall McAuley

    • 25/Sep/2013 19:55:53

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Yes, the Belfast Mineral Water Company factory art York Road was open in 1890. Not much help.

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 26/Sep/2013 10:58:53

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] No tagging until we have a safer date. From http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley's comparisons in our catalogue and the Belfast Mineral Water Company, we're nowhere near safe yet...

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 26/Sep/2013 11:39:40

    From Monday, 10 June 1878 in the Belfast Newsletter:

    M'FERRAN June 9 at Druid's Cottage, Islandmagee, Martha, the beloved wife of Thomas M'Ferran. Her remains will be removed for interment in Ballyprior Graveyard, on to-morrow (Tuesday) at twelve o'clock noon. Friends will please accept this intimation.

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    TEXASJOHN

    • 26/Sep/2013 12:57:50

    Great photo!

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    AirphixTwin

    • 20/Oct/2013 19:47:36

    Still there, and pulling in the tourists! www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g2528878-d3896639-r...

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    Melinda Young Stuart

    • 09/Sep/2015 13:25:47

    Lace-curtain Irish! Love the window treatments!

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    Melinda Young Stuart

    • 09/Sep/2015 13:26:18

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Great! Thanks for the link!

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 11/Sep/2017 07:53:44

    I have just added this photo to our 50,000+ Views album. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/sets/72157651136879037