This ruin was once a herd house at the foot of Moneyconey mountain and was always known as Barney Cleary`s but later known as  “the dipper“ because it was used to pen in and dip sheep. These Cleary people herded and dealt in geese. As soon as  the newly hatched goslings were about a month old they would be turned out on the mountain to forage for themselves. Then when they were fully grown they would be driven to Draperstown, put on the train and sent to market in Belfast or even England.

“My grandfather remembers seeing the Cleary children running down the mountain to school in their bare feet.”

Below the house ruins we can see the remnants of the potato lazy beds which  for long sustained this family.

The last of this family, a female, ended her days in the house of Geordie Barnett  in Owenreagh.  Geordie`s mother died when the children were young and since Geordie`s father was unable to look after the children on his own, Barney`s daughter, Mary Cleary, went down to help him. It is possible that there was a family connection as there is a parish record of a Barnett lady marrying a Bernard Cleary. She literally became a member of the family until she ended her days  there. These Clearys were the same Clearys as the Jacks in Moyard and the Mathew Clearys above Bealnamala bridge on the Sixtowns road. This old house is marked on the Griffith`s Valuation map of 1856, so it has been here for a very long time. It was possibly once a boley house for the herds who took their animals up here for the summer grazing. The Clearys  may also have had a herds role at some stage before the started to keep geese. Geese were more popular than sheep on the mountains at one time. The young geese of three months would be turned out onto the mountain pastures until they would be ready for market. John (Pat Roddy) Bradley remembers the children from this family coming down the `cuts` in their bare feet to Altayeskey school.

Barney Cleary House