1971:0020 - NARRAGHMORE, Kildare

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kildare Site name: NARRAGHMORE

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number:

Author: Mr. T. Fanning, National Parks and Monuments Branch, Office of Public Works

Site type: Ringfort

ITM: E 678486m, N 700422m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.048680, -6.829414

The fort, which had been partly destroyed by quarrying, was defended by three concentric banks and two fosses, which enclosed a roughly oval area about 55m in diameter with an overall diameter of about 90m. It was situated on the summit of a gravel ridge circa 500 ft above 0.D. Only two segments of the defences had survived — the eastern segment containing the original causewayed entrance and the western segment containing the only surviving portion of the interior.

A cutting across the eastern defences showed that the outer bank had been strengthened by a stone facing. Otherwise the structural make-up of this bank consisted of a boulder clay upcast from the fosse placed on the original ground surface which showed as a dark grey layer. Apart from the stone facing the other two banks were of a similar construction. Both fosses had been dug through the undisturbed boulder clay and had filled up with a soft dark brown fill containing fragments of animal bone. Excavation of the inner bank revealed traces of what was probably a form of palisade trench on the edge of the inner slope. It showed as a continuous line (c.4Ocm in width and 30cm in depth) of soft dark fill in the undisturbed boulder clay.

Two distinct phases of activity were recognizable on the site. Two pits, one a rather large fire-pit, underlay the structural layers of the inner bank, obviously predating the construction of the latter. These features yielded no finds beyond some animal bone.

Removal of the humus in the interior of the fort revealed a dark stony soil containing considerable quantities of animal bone. A few finds were recovered from this level — a stone spindle whorl, a flint flake an iron object, possibly a punch. A number of pits, including a small fire-pit and another filled with animal bone were found as this layer was removed. There is no reason to doubt that these features and the palisade trench are contemporary with each other and with the construction of the fort which can only be given a general date in the Early Christian Period.