Gallows Hill Community Group involved in Archaeological dig at Kilkenny Castle

Pictured left to right, Chrissy O’Connor –Knight, Doríeann Nic Mhurchadha (WCM/Gallows Hill Dungarvan), Phil Kenny  Kilkenny Archaeology,  Cóilín Ó Drisceoil, site manager, Kilkenny Archaeology, Eddie Cantwell & Sarah Lucas, (WCM/Gallows Hill Group)  Dungarvan; Dan Lenehan , Kilkenny Archaeology.

Members of the Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan / Gallows Hill community group were delighted to be invited by Cóilín Ó Drisceoil to take part in the Archaeological dig at Kilkenny Castle.  Cóilín is in charge of excavation on behalf of the Office of Public Works.  The Archaeological excavation which was funded by O.P.W. has been undertaken to uncover the remains of the gatehouse which was built in the early thirteenth century by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke to guard the main entrance into his chief castle in Leinster.  This year marks both the 800th anniversary of the death of the Marshal and also fifty years since the castle was brought under the care of the Office of Public Works. The gatehouse was badly damaged during the Cromwellian attack on the castle in March 1650 and what remained of it was removed in around 1770. Before it was demolished its plan had been drawn / illustrated, to varying levels of accuracy, by Francis Place c.1699, John Rocque 1758 and Richard Steile 1767, all of whom showed it comprised two large circular towers.

In 2010 a ground-penetrating radar archaeological survey was undertaken of the structure, which identified the precise location of the gatehouse.  The aim of the investigation is to ascertain the depth, extent and condition of the gatehouse's surviving masonry.  Results to date are very encouraging and show that the two towers of the gatehouse survive to nearly their original first floor level.  So far, the south tower has been exposed, along with an arrow loop embrasure and part of the main entrance passage between the towers.  Around a thousand artefacts have also been recovered, including a numerous lead musket balls, an Irish Volunteers button and handles of medieval pottery jugs.  The Dungarvan group were delighted to have spent the day on the dig in such wonderful surroundings.  It is the second Archaeological dig that Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan group have been invited to by Cóilín, Kilkenny Archaelogy, having spent several days at the Ballinamintra caves with the group.  

Medieval Harp tuning peg, discovered by Dan Lenehan