DIGGING AN ABBEY, at Derrynane, County Kerry

Derrynane More
Monastic Site Abbey Island
Archaeological investigation took place on Abbey Island when the grounds around Aghamore Abbey were to be extended. In one trial trench a well, 70cm. in height, was uncovered. This was covered by a capstone (1.25m. in length and its width was exposed for 25-60cm.) and uses the bedrock as a natural basin. At the east side of the natural basin there are 4-5 courses of dry stone walling and 3 on the south side. At a higher level a layer of midden material, 30-60cm. in thickness, contained a sherd of 13th – 14th century green glazed pottery. Excavation also exposed a wall which has a maximum height of 1 .45m. and varies from 60-67cm. in width. Both sides are plastered with a mortar surface. This wall was uncovered for at least 1 2m. and curves from a north-west to a south-east direction. A trampled area pre-dating the construction of the wall covers some stones which may belong to a structure earlier than the wall. This area awaits completion of the excavation.

The abbey of Derrynane, or Aghamore Abbey, was probably founded in the 6th century. It became a dependency of Dairinis, Youghal, in the Middle Ages. The wall and well uncovered may be part of a settlement here in medieval or post-medieval times.
Catryn Power, for National Parks & Monuments Branch, Office of Public Works


© 2012-2017 Catryn Power All Rights Reserved

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