- Kilscannell, Co. Limerick, Limerick

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Limerick Site name: Kilscannell, Co. Limerick

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR LI028-189 Licence number:


Site type: Graves of indeterminate date


ITM: E 532120m, N 639399m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.501753, -8.999785

In 1953 Mr Robert Cussen, Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick, reported that human remains had been found in the spring of that year in a sand quarry at Kilscannell, a few fields away from the ruins of Kilscannell church and churchyard.169 According to the report, the sandpit was an elevated portion of ground in the corner of a field. The coordinates given locate the site to the south-east of the church, and the first edition of the OS 6in. sheet shows a large quarry at this location. A number of skeletons were found about 0.3–0.4m below the sod. The bones were in an advanced state of decomposition and skulls of various sizes, from large to small, were noted. Over the following months more skeletons were uncovered. These are reported to have been aligned east/west, with the heads to the west and ‘a few common stones arranged where the feet were, forming a sort of little wall’. Two objects, a fork and an iron object, were sent to the Museum for examination. G.A. Hayes-McCoy reported that the iron object was most likely an axehead or a halberd, and commented that a halberd seemed more likely. He also stated that ‘halberds with blades of this shape were used in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries’, but the identification was tentative. Catríona McCloud described the fork as belonging to the series of ‘ginger forks’ that came into use in the late seventeenth century, continuing in use into the eighteenth century. It had a bone handle. The halberd blade was retained by the NMI. The report does not specify the relationship between these objects and the burials but it is clear that they were found at the site. Mr D.M. Davies examined one skull from the site, which he identified as the cranium and mandible of a woman aged 35–40 with the head keeled, a high bridge to the nose, a fine forehead and large orbits.

169 Parish of Kilscannell, barony of Connello Lower. SMR LI028-189——. IGR 132155 139351.