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Site around Cosgrave's bungalow a potential major Bronze Age find

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The site of the dig near Liam Cosgrave’s former home

The site of the dig near Liam Cosgrave’s former home

The site of the dig near Liam Cosgrave’s former home

Land surrounding the home of former taoiseach Liam Cosgrave could be an important Bronze Age settlement.

A survey has established the 5.2-hectare site on Scholarstown Road in Knocklyon, south Dublin, as an area of considerable archaeological potential.

It was bought for development by Ardstone Homes after Mr Cosgrave's death in 2017 aged 97, and there is potential to build up to 200 houses on it.

However, a survey of the site surrounding the former taoiseach's bungalow has revealed a settlement and burial site that could go back to the Bronze Age.

The Herald previously revealed that the remains of up to 60 bodies could be on the site.

Now, as part of Ardstone's planning application, the findings of the archaeological survey carried out by the developers have been revealed.

According to the survey, submitted by Archer Heritage Planning, the site is not listed on the Record of Monuments and Places, and as such has no current statutory protection.

No features of the archaeology were visible above ground, and only became apparent when a geophysical survey, which reads information under the surface, was carried out.

This highlighted a probable enclosure in the north-eastern section of the site. Test excavations carried out last August confirmed the presence of a ring fort type of enclosure and human remains. 34 grave cuts were recorded.

"A preliminary assessment would indicate that there are a minimum of 37 burials at this location, with more potentially surviving," the survey says.

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

Significant

The finds are believed to be early medieval, with possible burials from an earlier time.

Sources have told the Herald some of the burials probably date back to the Bronze Age.

"The initial assessment has identified significant associated archaeological potential," the survey says.

It adds that the works planned by the site owners would have a "direct, negative and permanent" effect on the remains unless mitigation measures are implemented.

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

The National Monuments Service has said the impact on the site could be mitigated by 'preservation by record', meaning findings would be documented and photographed prior to work going ahead.

News that the site is of potential archaeological significance has created a lot of interest in the Knocklyon, Rathfarnham and Templeogue areas.

Local councillor Deirdre O'Donovan has said she is organising a public meeting with an archaeologist to give locals an overview of the report.

"We cannot underestimate the value of this find and it is too important to be lost to a housing development in an area where 4,000 new homes are already planned," she said.

"What we need is more facilities and resources in this area, and this could be a very valuable one."