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Sunday 19 May 2019

Neighbours demand probe into mysterious circles at medieval burial site earmarked for homes

The historic dig on lands once owned by Liam Cosgrave. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
The historic dig on lands once owned by Liam Cosgrave. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

South Dublin residents are calling on the local council to investigate two circular features discovered near an ancient burial site on lands once owned by former Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave.

The Ballyboden Tidy Towns committee identified the circles on public lands while they were examining an archaeological dig on the Cosgrave lands.

The site is now owned by a property developer who has applied for planning permission for 600 homes.

The committee wants the area examined in case it may be of importance.

It was initially believed that a burial site on the lands may have been of Bronze Age origin, but a report submitted to South Dublin County Council by the developers indicates the remains are medieval.

Test excavations carried out last August confirmed the presence of a ring fort type of enclosure and human remains. Thirty four "grave cuts" were recorded.

A number of other archaeological features including two bowl furnaces, a potential kiln, three post holes and two pits were also found, indicating people had settled at the site.

Significance

The survey suggested the site is of medium to high significance.

"The initial assessment has identified significant associated archaeological potential in the form of human burial," the survey says.

"Further excavations at the site may provide additional information to enable a fuller assessment of its significance.

"Significant archaeological remains have been identified within the site and established it as an area of considerable archaeological potential."

Culture and Heritage Minis- ter Josepha Madigan said the features discovered are common in nature and there is therefore no basis for making it subject to legal protection under the National Monuments Acts.

Local Fianna Fail TD John Lahart called on Ms Madigan to publish a full report on the site's archaeological significance.

As part of its objection to property developer Ardstone's plans, Ballyboden Tidy Towns submitted a video of drone footage which recorded some of the findings of the archaeological dig.

It said it hoped the video will serve a purpose in the understanding and appreciation of the landscape and heritage, both built and natural, in the area.

Ardstone bought the lands last year following the death of Mr Cosgrave in 2017 at the age of 97.

"We do not believe that the proper oversight was given by the National Monuments Service to this important site as residents reported skeletal bones left behind, open to the elements, on earth piles, and clearly visible," said Angela O'Donoghue of Ballyboden Tidy Towns.

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