1973:0024 - 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, OPW

Site type: Parks Castle

ITM: E 578156m, N 835205m

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

Excavations this season were concentrated in the areas West and South of the Tower House foundations which were discovered last year in the courtyard.
Six metres west of the west tower-house wall a sharply cut trench was found to run parallel to the tower wall. This trench was two metres wide at the top narrowing to a metre at the bottom and it was a metre deep. 3.50 metres of this feature were exposed but it appears to continue northwards and southwards. The fill in this trench consisted of animal bone, and green and black sticky deposits. The only objects found were an iron fish-knife and one 17th Century sherd of fine, pinkish-coloured ware with a white tin glaze.
This trench cut through a hearth on its western edge, the earliest stratified feature so far, with which there were no associated finds. Between the trench and the west tower-house wall, and partly set into the fill of the trench was the remains of a rectangular “structure”. Externally, this measured 7 x 9.50 metres. The eastern and southern walls were poorly preserved. The northern and western walls survived to an average height of 80cms and were on average 60 cms thick. The method of structure was unusual consisting of upright slabs set at a slight angle into the ground inside which horizontal courses of stone were built up giving a vertical inside edge; mortar was sparingly used. It was thought at first that this was the remains of the tower-house courtyard, but it was found to be built into both the occupation debris of the tower house and the top of the trench mentioned above. It would therefore appear to be later than the period of use of the tower house and may be associated with the destruction phase, when the tower seems to have been used as a quarry for the later 17th century building.

South of the tower house, an original working surface was cleared of collapse and excavation here revealed an area of intensive burning with deposits of ash, and some post-holes. A gully leading eastwards from here was traced for 10 metres and was cut through at one point by a 17th century mortar-scuring pit. Another gully closer to the south wall of the tower-house may have been for collecting garde-robe deposits.
8.50 metres south of the tower house a portion of a wall with an entrance was uncovered. This runs away to the north west and south east and as yet it has not been possible to establish the date or purpose of this structure.
The pottery recovered was mainly 17th century and later. Some 16th century pieces were represented, including a base-sherd of a North west French green-glazed candlestick, a base sherd of a tudor-green mug, and four sherds of a pot of hard-fired red-ware with a mottled glaze varying in colour from red to green. One end-sherd of a Saintonge Costrel could belong to the 16th or
17th century. Many fragments of glass were recovered in association with the Tower-house, as
well as some knives, horse-shoes, buckles and a selection of bolts and nails. It is hoped to have a
final season on the site in 1974.