1990:098 - 'Banagher Fort', Kylebeg or Banagher, Offaly

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Offaly Site name: 'Banagher Fort', Kylebeg or Banagher

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 21:2 Licence number:

Author: Beth Cassidy, Archaeological Development Services Ltd., 10 Belmont Park, Raheny, Dublin 5.

Site type: Military fort - post medieval

ITM: E 600251m, N 715531m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.190229, -7.996248

In June 1990 Mr Mike Gorman contacted Archaeological Development Services Ltd., to instigate an archaeological assessment of his property, Banagher Ford, Banagher, Co. Offaly. This was in compliance with outline planning permission given prior to his proposed redevelopment at the Fort.

The site of the present Banagher Fort, now the derelict remains of a 19th-century artillery fort, is thought to have incorporated the earlier ‘Fort Falkland’ which was built by Sir Arthur Blundell in 1624 as part of the plantation scheme in Co. Offaly. There was the possibility that the site may have been located on or near to the castle of Tadgh Caech O’Cearbaill (Bradley; Urban Survey of Co. Offaly), which was destroyed in 1548.

The fort stands within the archaeological area as zoned by John Bradley in the course of Urban Survey work and as such had to be archaeologically assessed prior to any development work.

The present fort buildings were used to garrison soldiers and defend the bridge on the eastern side of the Shannon during the threat of French invasion in the years 1796-1815. It became an RIC barracks later in the 19th century and was destroyed by fire in the 1920 Troubles.

Some trial trenches were opened within the fort to assess the survival of earlier buildings/settlement on the fort site. Three trenches averaging 2m x 6m were excavated to a depth of 1m+. They exposed, in the central and south-west cuttings, wall remnants of 19th-century buildings now demolished. Otherwise they revealed a stratigraphy of rubble fill lying on grey/green (natural) river clays. there were no finds of metal or pottery, nor was there any indication of pre 18th-century deposits.

It was recommended that redevelopment work within the fort proceed with archaeological monitoring during foundation trenching. Due to the negative results of testing within the fort no publication was deemed necessary and a copy of the full report on the site work to date has been lodged with the Office of Public Works.