1972:0022 - KILMORE, Leitrim

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Leitrim Site name: KILMORE

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

Author: Miss C. Foley, National Parks and Monuments Branch, Office of Public Works

Site type: Castle

ITM: E 578156m, N 835205m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.265198, -8.335304

This is a 17th century plantation castle, on the northern shore of Lough Gill. It consists of a five sided bawn with two circular flanking towers at the landward corners. A three storeyed dwelling forms one side of the bawn. This is quite well preserved and has typical mullioned windows and tall diamond-shaped chimneys. The interior of the dwelling produced only modern finds mixed with a recent gravel fill.

The courtyard was extensively cobbled, in the 17th century, with limestone wedges set on end into about 20 centimetres of gravel. The foundations of two other buildings in the bawn proved to be contemporary with the cobbles.

An area of 19th century stabling clearly cut through the 17th century cobbling in the north—west area of the bawn.

Under this cobbled courtyard, were found the foundations of an earlier fortification, probably a 15th or 16th century tower house, which was very likely used as a source of stone for the later building.

The eastern end seems to have been destroyed and an E—shaped foundation here may be the remains of a repairing buttress.

The original building is 12.05m long and 9.05m wide. It is divided into two rooms, east and west, the internal dimensions of which are 7.05 x 4.75 and 6.05 and 2.05 metres respectively. The south—west corner seems to have a wall projecting southwards from it which may enclose a courtyard.

A moat averaging 8m wide and 2m deep was at first thought to be contemporary with the 17th century bawn – as it is parallel to it. However, one flanking tower is built out over the edge of the moat, negating this theory. Though it now seems contemporary with the tower—house, it may also have been used to some extent in the 17th century.

Finds associated with the earlier levels include, bronze “harp—pins”, a pewter spoon handle with a female figure at the end, a stone cannon ball, some window glass and many iron objects connected with masonry and carpentry. Pottery was scarce and was mostly unreliably stratified in the gravel layer beneath the cobbles.

Finds of the 17th century and later, stratified above the cobbles, include, iron knives and tools and an iron spur— holder.

The excavation lasted for four months in 1972 and it is hoped to return for another season in 1973, when the context of the tower—house would be further investigated.