1977:075 - BALLYBARRACK, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: BALLYBARRACK

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

Author: E.P. Kelly, National Museum of Ireland

Site type: Souterrains and Enclosure

Period/Dating: Medieval (AD 400-AD 1600)

ITM: E 703429m, N 805411m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.987593, -6.422880

In June 1977 a souterrain was discovered when a house foundation was being dug. As further houses were planned on the site it was decided to excavate in order to uncover any additional structures which may have existed. Subsequent investigations uncovered a complex of three souterrains within a large oval enclosure having a maximum dimension of about 90m.
One souterrain had been robbed of its capstones and portions of the walls in medieval times. It had then been used as a refuse dump. Large quantities of medieval pottery, metal objects, animal bones, sea shells and some disarticulated human remains were recovered from the fill. A stone slab bearing Early Bronze Age carvings had been re-used as a jamb in the structure. This souterrain was linked by an above ground stone-lined sunken passage to a second souterrain. A re-used ogham-inscribed stone had been incorporated in the roof of the second structure. The third souterrain was smaller than the previous two. Two large postholes at the entrance suggested that this originally had a wooden door. The settlement was enclosed by a deep ditch which formerly had an internal bank and a counterscarp bank, both of which appear to have been, at least partly, stone-faced. No house sites were discovered within the enclosure but a metalworking area, which appears to have been mainly concerned with the production of iron nails, was found in the western half of the site. A medieval church is sited at the S.W. edge of the enclosure.