The tree-grown bank of King’s Stables is not a full circle; there is a break to the west. It encloses a circular pool, its surface largely covered with a mat of floating vegetation. Excavation in 1975 showed that the pool was man-made, about 25m across and 3–4m deep, with steeply sloping sides fed from a nearby stream through Tray Bog. It is partly filled with clay, mud and peat deposits, but originally it would have held clear water and there is still water under the surface vegetation. On the bottom of the pool were many animal bones with a surprising quantity of deer antlers and dog bones. Other finds included pieces of clay moulds for casting bronze swords and the facial part of a human skull. The finds and radiocarbon dates indicate the Late Bronze Age, (c. 1000–500 BC) and a ritual use is likely. This tree-grown pool is a place of strong atmosphere and it is not surprising that it has attracted stories, of a fierce dragon guarding its depths, and of its use to water the King of Ulster’s horses, hence its name. On the other side of Navan Fort, in Loughnashade, a natural lake, the finest prehistoric trumpet ever found in Ireland was amongst four discovered in the 19th century.
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