1Doyle, J. B. Tours in Ulster: A Handbook to the Antiquaries and Scenery of the North of Ireland. Dublin: Hodges and Smith, 1854. 98-9.

2Hartwell, Barrie. "The Prehistory of the Giant's Ring and Ballynahatty Townland." Lisburn.com. 1995. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. <http://www.lisburn.com/books/historical_society/volume9/volume9-1.html>.

3Hartwell, Barrie. "The Ballynahatty Complex." Prehistoric Ritual and Religion: Essays in Honour of Aubrey Burl. Ed. Alex Gibson and Derek Simpson. Glouchestershire: Sutton, 1998. 32-45.
The author writes that, "The first archaeological record of a site in Ballynahatty was that of an 'ancient sepulchral chamber' described by members of the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society in 1856 (MacAdam & Getty 1855, 358-65). This account showed that many other sites had been destroyed in the preceding century in the lands surrounding the Ring as it was being developed for agriculture."
Hartwell cites as evidence that the present car park and visitor entrance was the original one for the henge the fact that it is where a causeway might have been constructing over the quarry ditch.

4Hartwell, Barrie. "The Prehistory of the Giant's Ring and Ballynahatty Townland."
In 1872 antiquarian James Fergusson wrote: "What, then was the object of this great earthwork with one solitary dolmen in the centre? Was it simply the converse of such a mound as that at New Grange? Was it that, instead of heaping the earth over the sepulchral chamber, they cleared it away and arranged it round it, so as to give it dignity? Or was it that funereal games or ceremonies were celebrated round the tomb, and that the amphitheatre was prepared to give dignity to their performance? These are questions that can only be answered when more of these circles are known and compared with one another, and the whole subject submitted to a more careful examination than has yet been the case. My impression is that it is the grave of a chief, and of him only, and that it is among the most modern of its class." (Fergusson, James. Rude Stone Monuments in All Countries Their Age and Uses. London: J. Murray, 1872. 229.)

5Coyne, Frank. Islands in the Clouds: An Upland Archaeological Study on Mount Brandon and The Paps, County Kerry. Tralee, Co. Kerry: Kerry County Council in Association with Aegis Archaeology Limited, 2006. This book may be read in its entirety here.
R.A.S. MacAlister noted affinities between the Giant's Ring and Longstone Rath, in Co. Kildare, where the henge is only half the diameter of the Giant's Ring and the central monument is a 20-ft tall stone set near a later burial cist.

6Petrie, George, and D.J.S. O'Malley. "Aspects of George Petrie. V. An Essay on Military Architecture in Ireland Previous to the English Invasion." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature 72 (1972): 236. [Read, 28 April, 1834 Published,18 December, 1972.]

7Borlase, William Copeland. The Dolmens of Ireland Their Distribution, Structural Characteristics, (...). Vol. 1. London: Chapman & Hall, 1897. 276+.

8Molyneux, Thomas, and Gerard Boate. A Natural History of Ireland in Three Parts. Dublin: George Grierson, 1726. pt. 2, 128.

9McComb, William. Guide to Belfast, the Giant's Causeway, and the Adjoining Districts of the Counties of Antrim and Down, with an Account of the Battle of Ballynahinch, and the Celebrated Mineral Waters of That Neighborhood ... Belfast: Author, 1861. 98-100.
The author alludes to his skepticism regarding the 1744 account: "If we are to rely upon the authority of Harris, who, in his '* History of County Down," (1744) states that two ranges of pillars, each consisting of seven, supported the great superincumbent rook ; besides which there were several other stones fixed upright in the ground, at the distance of about four feet. At present, the incumbent stone rests upon only four supporters – that on the South side being also an incumbent stone, resting upon three upright ones, and thus forming a secondary Cromlech.
Borlase however had more faith in the 1744 description of the site: "A writer in the Dublin Penny Journal (1834-35), who gives a picture of the structure, says: 'This cromlech is either very erroneously described by Mr. Harris, or its appearance has greatly altered since the year 1744. We are informed by him that 'two ranges of pillars,' each consisting of seven, support this monstrous rock, beside which there are several other stones fixed upright in the ground at a distance of about 4 feet. Of these latter there remains but one. The upper stone at present rests upon four, and not upon fourteen supporters. The entire number which compose the' altar' is only ten; and, though it is probable that several may have fallen down, or in some manner changed their position, it is inconceivable how so great a disproportion as the two accounts present could ever be reconciled.' In this view, namely that Harris was inaccurate, I disagree, firstly, because the monument he describes is so exactly what I should have expected it to have been from the present ruins, and, secondly, because, in an agricultural country like this, with stones required for gateposts and houses not far off, it is so easy to account for the removal of the outer ring as well as some of the fabric of the vault." (Borlase, William Copeland. The Dolmens of Ireland Their Distribution, Structural Characteristics, (...). Vol. 1. London: Chapman & Hall, 1897. 275-81.)

10Hartwell, Barrie. "The Ballynahatty Complex."
Hartwell's map of all the sites within the Ballynahatty Complex may been seen in the gallery at the bottom of our page. The palisaded enclosure is site BNH6.

11Borlase 275-81.

12Hartwell, Barrie. "Ballynahatty: A Prehistoric Ceremonial Centre." Archaeology Ireland 5.4 (1991): 12-15.

13Gray, William. "Discovery of an Ancient Sepulchre at the Giant's Ring, Belfast." The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 5th 1.2 (1890): 164-65.
Monuments near the Giant's Ring were not only subjected to the depredations of agriculturalists. The Giant's Ring itself may have been deployed as the "bleach-green" for a linen factory. (MacDonald, Philip, and Barrie Hartwell. "Anne Plumptre and The Giant's Ring, County Down: An Account of a Possible Bleach-Green Watch-Tower." Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 3rd 68 (2009): 152-57.)

14Hartwell, Barrie. "The Prehistory of the Giant's Ring and Ballynahatty Townland."

15Hartwell, Barrie. "The Ballynahatty Complex."