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The motte at Dundonald is one of the largest in Northern Ireland. It probably was built near the start of the conquest by Irish serfs or prisoners. Sitting atop a hill it is still an impressive landmark even today. One can only imagine how imposing it would have looked to the 12th century inhabitants of the area. It was from here that the Normans ruled. This fort would have been an important civic and military centre in the surrounding manor. The first lord was a French speaking knight who is recorded in one of de Courcy’s charters as “Richard de Dundoenald”. Later as the area settled and became quiet again the Normans built a small chapel beside the motte.  Remains from that original church have been found in the old Episcopalian church built on the same site.  The name of Dundonald is derived from this structure, 'The Fort of Donal', which lies in the centre of the village.  Close by is the Parish Church of St. Elizabeth, which dates back to 1306.  Its cemetery contains several finely carved early slate gravestones and Doric-style mausoleums. 

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