History of Northern Ireland's only Egyptian style pyramid hidden in Co Derry forest

One of Northern Ireland's hidden treasures -Credit:Sophie McLaughlin
One of Northern Ireland's hidden treasures -Credit:Sophie McLaughlin

Northern Ireland is filled with many weird and wonderful things but none are more bizarre than the stone pyramid hidden in a Co Derry forest.

Nestled deep in Garvagh Forest outside Coleraine stands Northern Ireland’s only pyramid and at 18ft by 21ft – its unique nature makes it an intriguing part of Northern Ireland history.

A far cry from the sandy deserts of Egypt, the Garavagh Pyramid or "The Vault" is a hidden treasure that adds to the mystic and magic of the world-famous north coast.

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The forest, which stands at approximately 500 acres, was home to the Canning family from 1614 to 1921 and was formerly part of Lord Garvagh’s demesne.

The Canning family were known for establishing the village during the 17th century and Garvagh House was built and occupied by the family until the early 1920s.

Built in the 1800s, it is said that Lord Garvagh took inspiration for his pyramid after he embarked on a grand tour of Egyptand he had intended The Vault to be his final resting place.

However, as he died in France in 1840, he was never buried in the mausoleum - his wife who survived him for 51 years choose not to be buried in the pyramid so, despite any ghost stories passed on from generations – the vault is empty.

The pyramid remains empty as Lord Garvagh died in France and was unable to be buried in it -Credit:Sophie McLaughlin
The pyramid remains empty as Lord Garvagh died in France and was unable to be buried in it -Credit:Sophie McLaughlin

The vault has been filled in for many years but the structure’s random setting in rural Northern Ireland still has people talking many decades on.

Causeway Coast and Glens Councillor Richard Holmes is from Garvagh and shared his take on the village’s unique attraction.

Previously speaking to Belfast Live, he said: “It is one of the hidden gems of the Causeway Coast.

“I suppose when you sort of grow up with it, you don’t think so much about it but over the last few years, I think there’s been a rediscovery of Garvagh Forest, the pyramid and the walks in it.

“There’s not a time if I’m walking in the forest that I wouldn’t walk up to the pyramid just because it’s so special to walk around.”

“It’s special and definitely a talking point. It may not be the scale of the grand pyramids, but none the less it’s a four-sided pyramid in Northern Ireland," he laughed

“If you ever manage to get there on a full moon and clear night, walking up there to see it in the moonlight in the trees is just magical, absolutely magical.”

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