1990:073 - Dean Street, Gardens, Kilkenny, Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: Dean Street, Gardens, Kilkenny

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

Author: Claire Cotter, 1 Northbrook Villas, Northbrook Road, Dublin 6.

Site type: Medieval Urban

ITM: E 650440m, N 656143m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.654135, -7.254511

Limited archaeological excavation was carried out at this urban site prior to development. Archaeological investigation was included as a condition of planning permission and the work was funded by the developer.

The site lies in Irishtown, a short distance from St Canice’s Cathedral, and the remains of a medieval house stood on the adjacent plot until recent road widening operations. The present street is therefore considerably wider than its medieval predecessor.

The site investigated measures 23m south-west to northeast by 16.4m north-west to south-east. Four trenches were examined across the site – trenches 1 and 2 were opened primarily to sample the archaeological potential and assess the impact of the impending development. Trenches 3 and 4 were subsequently opened to examine the medieval levels in those areas where it was planned to use pile foundations.

The earliest deposits at the site indicated that the area had been open marshy ground until reclamation began in the 13th century. In the eastern part of the site material consisting of natural cobbles and smaller river rolled stones had been banked up – presumably to protect the area from the flood waters of the River Breagagh, which runs eastwards about 50m to the south of the site. Thirteenth/early 14th-century pottery (local ware, Leinster cooking ware, Ham Green and Bristol ware) was recovered from this material. The remains of a 13th-century oven were uncovered in the western sector of the site. A deposit of sand – up to 0.4m in thickness -. had been spread on the open marshy ground and the cobbled floor of the oven laid directly on this. No evidence for the superstructure of the oven survived and it appears to have been in use for a relatively short period.

The site appears to have remained largely undeveloped throughout the later medieval period. Post-medieval activity is attested to by the remains of a brick-and rubble-built basement in the south-west corner of the site. It may have formed part of the building illustrated in Rocque’s 18th-century map of Kilkenny.