Articlave is an historic village which was founded in 1612 by the Clothworkers Guild during the Plantation of Ulster. If you follow the Sconce Road from the village towards the high ground you will come to 'The Sconce' or ' The Giant Sconce' . This was an important pre-historic site referred to in the Annals of Ulster. It was originally known as Dun Ceithern or Ceithern’s Fort. Ceithern was a descendant of Niall (Niall of the Nine Hostages) and friend of Cuchulainn, the Hound and Defender of Ulster. It was also an important power base in the region when Irish raiding parties were going to Wales and England during the 3rd and 4th century AD.
The possibility exists that raiders from this district captured the young Patricius and brought him back here before selling him as a slave to the chieftain Michu in Dalriada. The location is not so far from Slemish and visible from the site of the fort. Another piece of intriguing evidence was found in Articlave near the 2nd Dunboe Presbyterian Church. A hoard of Roman coins and silver items dating from the reign of Constantine II (AD 337-340) and Constantine III (AD 470-411), one of the silver pieces had the inscription 'Ex of Patrici' which translates as 'from the factory of Patricius'.
The Ballinress Hoard as it is known certainly indicates some kind of commerce or connections to Roman Britain, or was it more likely part of the spoils from an Irish raiding party on Roman Britain. One writer suggests that the sixteen year old Patricius (Saint Patrick) who was a Roman Briton could have taken his name from this Patricius when he was captured and brought to Ulster and indeed may have walked the hills of Dunboe.
Interestingly, a beacon lit on the Sconce can be seen from Navan Fort in Armagh, which in turn can be seen from Tara Hill, the ancient seat of Irish Kings. In ancient times this network could have sent an alarm signal half the length of Ireland. Today you can drive up around the Sconce but the site is on private ground, the views from the top of the Sconce road are truly spectacular and well worth a look.
Articlave has a connections to Ireland's last highwayman Cushy Glen. He operated along the Murder Hole Road between Coleraine and Limavady which was named after his attacks on travellers passing that way. He was shot in 199 by John Hopkins while trying to rob him.
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