1986:79 - 'Ferrycarrig', Newtown, Wexford

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Wexford Site name: 'Ferrycarrig', Newtown

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

Author: Claire Cotter, 2 Rathmore Lawn, South Douglas Road, Cork

Site type: Ringwork

ITM: E 703710m, N 620997m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.330774, -6.478353

The site occupies a prominent position overlooking the River Slaney c. 2 miles N of Wexford and has been identified as the ‘municipium’ built by FitzStephen shortly after the arrival of the Normans in Ireland (Expurgnatio Hibernica of Geraldis Cambrensis.

Prior to excavation a substantial bank and traces of an external ditch enclosed a D-shaped area. Previous excavation in 1984 revealed the profile of the original rock-cut ditch and the foundations of a wall which may have formed a revetment along the external face of the bank. As the site forms part of the Wexford Heritage Park it was proposed to reveal: (a) the entire rock—cut ditch; and (b) any surviving internal features’.

The ditch varied from 2m wide x 2m deep along the W sector to 5.40m wide X 1.20m deep at the E end. Large chunks of mortared masonry lay in the eastern half of the ditch but were not associated – with any artefacts. Locally made 13th-century cooking ware was recovered from the bottom of the ditch may have destroyed any surviving evidence.

Excavation to date in the interior indicates that the construction of the round tower here in the late 19th century considerably disturbed this area. Thirteenth century pottery, animal bones and oyster shells were found in the disturbed soil. Two Henry Ill silver long-cross pennies and a rowel spur were also recovered.

A revetment wall on the inside of the enclosing bank has also been exposed but it is not clear as yet whether this is a primary or secondary feature. No trace of any structures has been uncovered to date and the W sector of the interior has also been disturbed by drains probably cut in the 19th century.

The excavation, which lasted 16 weeks, was financed by Wexford County Council. It is hoped that further excavation will reveal undisturbed deposits and a context for the internal revetment wall.