“A souterrain is an artificially built or dug underground structure. Most common is the dry-stone souterrain, made by digging an open trench building up dry-stone walls within it, roofing them with large lintels, and covering the whole with soil. Souterrains were also cut or tunnelled into rock or clay...” (DoE (1987) Historic Monuments of NI;HMSO)
Finnis Souterrain, locally known as ‘Binder’s Cove,’ is a hidden gem for the intrepid heritage enthusiast. It is located off the Carrigagh Road towards its junction with the Slievenaboley Road, approximately 2 miles north west of Legananny Dolmen, and approximately 2.5 miles south of Finnis/Massford. The souterrain is a scheduled ancient monument on private land but was opened to the public under an agreement between the landowner and Banbridge District Council in 2003. It is a securely built underground structure of dry stone construction made up of three passages located in a shallow depression 120m across a field. The main passage runs for approx. 29 m/95 ft and two shorter side passages run off this to the northeast. This souterrain is thought to date from around the 9th century AD and was probably used as a hiding place, and possibly for storage. Solar powered lighting has been provided in the souterrain, parking and interpretation are also provided.
Advice: There are three pedestrian gates along the fenced access path and wooden steps down to the entrance. This is a narrow, confined, underground structure which requires bending and stooping to enter. A low level of solar lighting is provided but it advisable to bring a torch as well. No entry charge.
The souterrain is normally open at all times but floods for most of the winter months making much of the structure inaccessible. Combine with a visit to nearby Legananny Dolmen and a tour of the Slieve Croob area.
To get there from Dromara: Take the B7 to Finnis/Massford, about 1 ½ miles south of Dromara. At Finnis take the first road on your left past the chapel, the Carrigagh Road (signed for Legananny Dolmen). Continue on this road until you reach a crossroads, continue straight ahead (continuation of the Carrigagh Road). Ignore the sign for Legananny Dolmen. About 400 yards further on you see a small lay-by on the left with a wooden sign marking the souterrain. To visit nearby Legananny Dolmen retrace your route along Carrigagh Road, and follow the road signs, taking a right into Legananny Road and continue until you reach the junction with Dolmen Road, turn left into Dolmen Road and park at the lay-by provided.
Grid Ref. J272442
Maps: OSNI Discover Map Series 1:50,000 Sheet 20
Slieve Croob Outdoor Pursuits Map
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Banbridge District Council
T: 028 4066 0617