This is a four-pounder cannonball from the Nine Years War (1594-1603). In September-October 1600, an English army of around 3000 foot and 800 horse under Lord Mountjoy battled with Hugh O’Neill’s forces in the Gap of the North for more than two weeks. Finally Mountjoy gave up and pulled back to Dundalk. But then O’Neill, for reasons unknown,abandoned his trenches and barricades and headed back to Tyrone. Mountjoy followed him, but bad weather and shortage of supplies made him stop at Mountnorris where he built a fort. He pulled back to Newry but there was no food for thousands of men there. He was afraid O’Neill had reoccupied the Gap so he planned to go down the Fathom Line towards Carlingford, but his scouts told him O’Neill was moving men across the Pass of Fathom (Larry Tam’s Loanan). He feared ambush off the steep hills so he decided to go down the eastern side of the Lough and cross by pontoon at Narrowwater. First across were cavalry and crack troops who would seize the flat-topped hill (Cornamucklagh) overlooking the crossing to guard against attack from Fathom. The whole army camped there on the night of 12th November. While they were there they dropped a cannonball. 402 years later when I was building a barbecue in the garden, I found it. If the English ask nicely, apologise and promise never to do it again, they can have their ball back. Otherwise I’m keeping it.