1972:0032 - FERNS (Castleland td.), Wexford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Wexford Site name: FERNS (Castleland td.)

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

Author: Mr. P.D. Sweetman, National Parks and Monuments Branch, Office of Public Works

Site type: Castle

ITM: E 700129m, N 650045m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.592442, -6.522160

The National Parks and Monuments Branch of the Office of Public Works undertook excavations for a period of eight weeks during the summer of 1972 at Ferns Castle under the direction of the writer. These archaeological investigations were in conjunction Ferns Castle is probably the finest of a small group of moated keeps with corner towers. Only the south—east and south—west towers of the Castle as well as parts of the east and south walls are still standing. These two towers as well as the entire interior of the castle were investigated. Since the keep for the most part is built on bedrock and since its interior until very recently had been used as a dump very little of archaeological interest was found. However some points of architectural interest were noted, e.g. that the ground floor of the keep was built on a split level.

A section about 14 x 8m was opened up immediately outside the south—west tower on the south side in order to investigate the moat. A rock cut fosse which was not designed to hold water, measuring l.60m deep and about 5m wide was revealed. Near the basal level of the fill of the fosse were found about 500 sherds of 13th century pottery consisting of a large quantity of cooking pots and the usual Irish type of glazed jugs but including two sherds of French ware.