On the A3 drive through Moira taking the 4th exit on the roundabout to join the M1 in Belfast direction. Leave the M1 at junction 6 (A49, Saintfield turn off), then on roundabout at foot of slip road take the 2nd exit on to Largymore Link. At T-junction at top of road (thatched cottage opposite) turn right onto Hillhall Road - B23 towards Belfast
After about 2.5 miles turn left on to the Drumbeg Road. Continue on this road to T junction with Upper Malone Road and turn right. The car park beside Lagan is immediately on your left, opposite Saint Patrick's Church, Drumbeg, famous for it's lychgate. For satnav the post code is BT17 9LE. Just a little further is the 128 acre Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park which also offers some attractive shorter walks.
The Giant's Ring dates from the Neolithic period and was built around 2700BC, meaning that it predates the Egyptian pyramids. The site has had some sort of public use throughout its history. It is near the Shaw's Bridge crossing of the River Lagan, a point which has been used as a crossing of the river since at least the Stone Age. The original purpose of the monument was most likely as a meeting place or as a memorial to the dead.
The word lych survived into modern English from the Old English or Saxon word for corpse, mostly as an adjective in particular phrases or names, such as lych bell, the hand-bell rung before a corpse; lych way, the path along which a corpse was carried to burial (this in some districts was supposed to establish a right-of-way); lych owl, the screech owl, because its cry was a portent of death; and lyke-wake, a night watch over a corpse (see Lyke-Wake Dirge).
In the Middle Ages when most people were buried in just shrouds rather than coffins, the dead were carried to the lych gate and placed on a bier, where the priest conducted the first part of the funeral service under its temporary shelter.