1990:107 - ROSCREA CASTLE, Townpark, Tipperary

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Tipperary Site name: ROSCREA CASTLE, Townpark

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

Author: Conleth Manning, Of/ice of Public Works

Site type: Castle - motte

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 613347m, N 689236m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.953746, -7.801363

The excavation, lasting three weeks, was concentrated on the basement discovered in 1989 within the west end of the gate tower of the castle. It measures 4m long by 3.1m wide and its natural boulder clay floor would have been about 3m below original ground floor level. There are no openings in the walls and the only access must have been through a trapdoor in the wooden floor above it.

The upper part of the fill of this chamber consisted of rubble dumped in the late 18th or early 19th century. Below this were interesting layers of mid to late 17th-century refuse containing charcoal and animal and fowl bones. Finds from these layers included 17th-century merchant's tokens, broken quernstones, sherds of pottery and glass, clay pipe fragments, iron nails and bronze upholstery tacks. The thin lower layers were more difficult to date but produced bone objects including a dice, a needle, a Jew's harp and animal bones including complete rat skeletons. There are references from around AD 1300 to a prison in the King's castle of Roscrea and this appears to have been it.

The post-medieval blocking of the outer entrance into the gate tower was removed and further excavation was carried out here within the drawbridge slots.