Ancient Cashel Kings Fort to be excavated

A site thought to be where the Kings of Cashel and Munster were crowned is now the subject of an extensive excavation by an international team of archaeologists.

A site thought to be where the Kings of Cashel and Munster were crowned is now the subject of an extensive excavation by an international team of archaeologists.

The archaeological research excavation of Rathnadrinna Fort in Cashel began last Monday, June 11. The excavation will run for eight weeks, and is funded through a grant from the Royal Irish Academy.

Local archaeologist Richard O’Brien will be the site director in charge of an international team of archaeologists and volunteers, with participants coming from USA, Germany, England and through-out the island of Ireland. Many of the diggers will be staying in Cashel so it will be a welcome boost to the town.

The excavation will attempt to discover the history of Rathnadrinna Fort, the largest and most-complex fort in Cashel. The fort, located in Lalor’s Lot townland off the Cashel-Rosegreen road is believed to be a possible inauguration site of the Kings of Cashel and Munster. Two seasons of geophysical surveys in 2009 and 2010 funded by the Heritage Council revealed many interesting features buried beneath the sod, and this season will focus on the excavation of some of these features. It is intended to spend further excavation seasons on the fort with the ultimate aim of producing a book on the excavation findings.

There are spaces left if people would like to volunteer their services and help on the excavation. No prior experience is needed but you have to be over 18 years old. There is availability for Week 3 beginning June 25, Week 4 beginning July 2, and Weeks 7 and 8, from July 23 until the excavation finishes on Friday, August 3. Please contact Richard O’Brien on richardcashel@yahoo.co.uk to reserve a place or to book a site visit. Please do not visit the excavation without booking first as the site is located on a busy dairy farm.

Thanks are due to Tom and Margaret Horan who have allowed the excavation take place on their land. The discoveries can be followed on www.facebook.com/rathnadrinna and there will be a site blog to keep updated on our progress. To mark the beginning of the excavation local historians John Knightly, Martin ‘Bob’ O’Dwyer and Eddie Dalton turned the sod on the first day of the dig. It is local people such as these who have championed Cashel over the years and it was quite fitting that their work should be acknowledged in this way.