Category Archives: IRELAND

17th-Century Artifacts Found at Soldiers’ Barracks in Ireland

17th-Century Artifacts Found at Soldiers’ Barracks in Ireland

Unearthing at the Athlone Garda Station on Barrack Street offered an insight into the life of a soldier from the 17th century 17th-century soldier in the town.

The archaeological findings suggest that the soldiers’ rowdy ways included drinking, smoking, and gambling on blood sports at the barracks site.

The first soldiers were stationed in Athlone during the foundation of Custume Barracks, formerly Victoria Barracks, around 1690.

This week, outgoing Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, announced several interesting finds unearthed during monitored excavation works by Angela Wallace, of Atlantic Archaeology, as part of the Athlone Garda Station redevelopment.

Several artifacts were discovered recently, amidst a perfectly-preserved cobbled area and courtyard surface.

A number of artifacts dating back to the 17th century have been discovered at a building site in Westmeath.

The OPW said the items uncovered “ranged from coins to musket balls, to a thimble and a hair comb, and fragments of clay pipes and glassware, as well as military buttons, uniform buckles, and interesting animal bones.”

These objects “suggest the soldiers had time away from the stresses of battle and controlling the colonies to indulge in drinking, smoking and gambling on blood sports.”

Zoo-archaeologist Siobhan Duffy identified a lower leg-bone from a male chicken which had the characteristic spur sawn off at approximately mid-way along its length.

“This procedure would have been carried out during the bird’s life, to facilitate the attachment of an artificial spur for the purposes of cockfighting,” Ms. Duffy explained.

At that time, cockfighting was a potentially lucrative enterprise, regarded as a sport worthy of the powerful elite.

The OPW said the discovery of many clay pipe fragments, dating between 1640 and 1670, along with fragments of fine 17th-century glassware, reinforced the theory that elite-status activities had been happening on Athlone the site.

Further evidence of this was seen in the excavation of a fine-toothed bone comb and clay curler, as many soldiers during the time wore their hair closely shaven, to avoid lice infestations, while more senior officers wore grand wigs.

The OPW has emphasized the significance of the Athlone finds.

“To date, there has been no other extensive excavation carried out on a military barracks in Ireland that has produced such a wide range of artifacts and ecofacts informing us of the social and domestic activities of soldiers during this period,” it stated this week.

Irish schoolboy discovers 4,000-year-old boat in Roscommon

Irish schoolboy discovers 4,000-year-old boat in Roscommon

LISACUL, IRELAND — A 12-year – old boy has found out the ruins of a wooden long-boat while wading in a lake in the Roscommon County of North Central Ireland reported by Irish Independent.

The boat may have been built early in the Neolithic period or as late as the Middle Ages.

An old boat that was more than 4,000 years old, uncovered by a bored schoolboy who abandoned his homework to paddle in the lake.

The 17ft longboat was lodged in the mud in the lake at the back of 12-year-old Cathal McDonagh’s home in Lisacul, Castlerea, Co Roscommon.

Archaeologists have told the family the ancient vessel could date back as far as 2000 BC.

The Irish Independent reports that McDonagh tripped over the vessel as he paddled in the shallow water of the lake and says that an expert team will travel from Dublin later this week to examine the find. 

The lake is home to at least one crannóg – an artificial island used as dwellings and defense mechanisms in prehistoric Ireland. Crannóg’s are the oldest dwellings in prehistoric Ireland. 

There are additionally at least seven ringforts surrounding the town of Lisacul. 

Eileen McDonagh, Cathal’s mother, told the Irish Independent that he was supposed to be doing his homework when he made the discovery. 

She said that her son became bored with his schoolwork and went for a walk down to the lake, where he paddled up to his ankles in a pair of wellington boots. 

It was there that he tripped over the long piece of ancient wood and made the fascinating discovery. 

Cathal McDonagh, with mum Eileen, dad Peter McDonagh, Breana McCulloch and Declan Greene, putting the log boat back to where it was first discovered near Lisacul, Co. Roscommon.

Cathal’s father Peter and his two elder siblings Aonghus and Róisin were summoned to help him retrieve the vessel from the lake and the family then reported the find to the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 

Experts said that the vessel could date back to Ireland’s Neolithic era but that it also could be from the medieval period.

The experts advised the McDonagh family to place the vessel back in the water in order to preserve it. 

Clare man discovers cliff fort near his home while flying a drone in Ireland

Clare man discovers cliff fort near his home while flying a drone in Ireland

A respected software maker and drone operator have discovered an unexplained cliff near his home in Co Clare.

During the present lockdown Matthiew Kelly, a satellite, communication, and electronics specialist, worked a drone near Crag, Lahinch when he made his archeological discovery.

Kelly, however, has a history in this area having previously uncovered ancient forts in Dundalk in 2018.

His latest find had not been previously recorded in the National Monuments Service (NMS) database but has since been officially added.

Matthew Kelly explained: “I found the fort while flying my drone around the small cliffs at Lahinch during a lockdown.

I have been filming forts and stone circles for years so I knew what it was when I found it. I emailed the National Monuments Service who checked it out and added it to their database which means it is now recorded and protected.”

Kelly isn’t however claiming all the credit for his latest discovery.

“The artist Jim Fitzpatrick inspired me to get into Irish mythology years ago so I asked him to name the fort. He suggested ‘Cliodna of the Waves’ so we will call it ‘Dun Cliodna’ (Cliodna’s fort).

Clíodhna is the goddess of love and beauty and is said to have three brightly colored birds who eat apples from an otherworldly tree and whose sweet song heals the sick,” Mr. Kelly said.

Matthew worked with artist Jim Fitzpatrick on a video about Newgrange and some of that footage was used on RTÉ’s Nationwide.

“I got into drones a few years ago when they first came out in 2014, my first footage was used on RTÉ’s programming Weather-Beaten in 2014 about the big storm.

I was lucky to work on a small project with Jim Fitzpatrick in 2016 and he encouraged me to visit the ancient sites of Ireland to see if anything new could be discovered with the drone,” Matthew added.

The discovery is now classed as a ‘cliff-edge fort’ in the townland of Crag and is “scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP (Record of Monuments and Places). “I also want to thank Anthony Murphy for helping me get the find reported to the NMS,” Mr. Kelly added.

The confirmation from the NMS states that the fort is: “Situated on a steep cliff-edge c. 450m S of Lahinch beach backing onto a NE-SW cliff. A sub-circular enclosure reported to the National Monuments Service by Matthew Kelly.”

During the hot summer of 2018, Matthew discovered a group of 5000-year-old forts in Dundalk.

Among the other sites reported over that summer were a prehistoric barrow cemetery found in Redcow near Dundalk, Co Louth by Mr. Kelly who was trying to locate a site once described as Ireland’s Stonehenge. His footage also included two ring-fort enclosures in the townlands of Glebe and Lisdoo.

The NMS estimates the range of monuments recorded across all sites date from 2200 BC to 1000 AD.

The newly discovered ring-fort near Lahinch has been named Dún Clíodna

Kelly is also an award-winning app developer and created a drone search and rescue (SAR) app called DroneSAR now being used by a range of SAR groups.

DroneSAR provides software that enables commercially available drones to maintain autonomous search patterns based on waypoint missions or user-defined search ‘boxes’, reducing risk to search personnel, improving situational awareness, and increasing the chance of finding people in distress, all at a fraction of the cost of a SAR helicopter.

Metal detectorist finds £100,000 gold haul while looking for his mate’s wedding ring

Metal detectorist finds £100,000 gold haul while looking for his mate’s wedding ring

Now a metal detector who was looking for a mate’s missing wedding ring has discovered a haul of gold coins worth an estimated £100,000 – and shouted: ”yee-ha – there’s a f*cking fortune here!’.

Paul Raynard, 44, screamed “’there are millions – this is the moment we dreamed of!” to best pal Michael Gwynne, 52, when he realized the scale of the find. The businessman from Keighley, Yorks., “broke down in tears” when he stumbled across his very own pot of gold – a cluster of 84 coins in a field near Ballycastle, Northern Ireland.

Stunned Paul and Michael found the coins – dating back to the 1500s – whilst looking for a farmer’s wedding ring he’d lost in his field. They didn’t find the ring – instead of digging up a horseshoe and a 5p coin – but after just 90 minutes of searching they found the collection of coins. Lighting engineer Paul said experts have told him it could be the biggest haul ever found in Ireland and worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Just one of the hoard – an ultra-rare Henry VIII coin – is estimated to be worth £5,000 on its own.

Edward VI coin

Paul found the underground treasure shows him pulling out muddy coin after coin from beneath the soil. He beamed at the Michael who is holding a phone struggled to contain his excitement.

Dad-of-two Paul said: ”I jumped up and down and ran down the field in tears to find Michael.

“It’s something I have dreamed of finding since I was a kid. It was an amazing feeling. It’s like checking your lottery numbers and realizing you’ve hit the jackpot.

“I saw one or two coins at first but had no idea of the size of the hoard to begin with.

This is the moment two metal detectorists looking for a mate’s wedding ring discovered gold coins

“I went to fetch Michael who was across the field so we could share the moment together. I was shaking, I still can’t believe it now.”

Paul and Michael were in Northern Ireland for a short holiday when their friend recruited them to help find his missing wedding ring. The coins have been sent to Ulster Museum for official identification and valuation by a team of experts. It will take several months for the 84 coins to be valued in full, but Paul has said other experts have told him the whole hoard could be worth more than £100,000.

The earliest coin in the hoard is dated 1512, was made when Henry VIII was king and could be worth as much as £5,000 on its own, Paul said. He added other coins – like one dated 1546 when the famed boy king Edward VI reigned – could be worth up to £3,000.

Many of the other 84 coins could fetch hundreds of pounds a piece if auctioned off. Paul said he and business partner, Michael, usually study old maps looking out for signs of ancient settlements or battlegrounds where hoards may be buried.

This is the moment two metal detectorists looking for a mate’s wedding ring discovered gold coins

Paul said: “We had just come back from a busy business trip to China and Michael said he knew of a nice little place we could go to in Ireland for us to take our detectors.

“But we only went to that field to try to find his mate’s wedding ring. He lost it and reckons it could be in the field somewhere.

“We didn’t find the ring and had only been there a couple of hours when we found the coins.

“I dug a small hole and there they were. I just could not believe it.”

Lighting engineer, Paul, has been interested in metal detecting since aged seven when his parents bought him a treasure island book as a present.

But he only took his hobby seriously when he turned 35 and purchased a £600 metal detector, capable of picking up gold and silver items buried up to 4ft below ground. This discovery is Paul’s most significant find and he has described it as a “once in a lifetime” discovery.

Paul said: “I’ve since found out it’s the biggest ever hoard to be found in Ireland.

“I’ve handed them all over to the museum to be properly identified and valued. It will take several months for that to happen.” The value of the coins will be split equally between Paul and the landowner if they choose to sell the hoard on for cash, following the completion of the valuation process.