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This is one of the largest mottes in Northern Ireland. These earth and timber forts were built following the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ulster in 1177, when John de Courcy conquered large parts of counties Down and Antrim. This would have been a centre of local Norman rule. The first lord was the French-speaking Richard de Dundoenald. The ancient rath on Moat Hill, which was built by the Celts, gives the town its name: Dundonald, the ‘Fort of Donald’. Behind the old motte, St Elizabeth’s Church, and its old graveyard also reflect the fascinating history in this area. The graveyard at St Elizabeth’s is dominated by the blue granite Cleland Mausoleum constructed in the memory of Reverend John Cleland whose remains are interned here as well.

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