1991:040 - 35 Parliament St., Dublin, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: 35 Parliament St., Dublin

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

Author: Georgina Scally, Castle Cottage, 103 Rathgar Road, Dublin 6.

Site type: Urban medieval

ITM: E 714926m, N 734126m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.344865, -6.274024

During refurbishment of the basement at No. 35 Parliament St builders uncovered highly organic deposits full of crushed oyster shells, animal bones and sherds of pottery, later identified as late 11th/early 12th century. As a result excavation took place over a period of eight days in early October 1991.

No. 35 Parliament St is located on the inside, i.e. to the west of, the c. 1100 AD town wall and approximately 8m north of Bise’s Tower. Excavation took place in each of the three basement rooms which were separated by upstanding dividing walls hence requiring excavation of three separate trenches lying at right angles to Parliament St and therefore at right angle to the c. 1100 AD town wall. The trenches measured 2.5m x 2m, 0.9m x I.35m and 3.3m x 2.9m respectively. Between 0.58m-0.84m of deposits were removed, the depths being determined by the level the developers needed to reach in order to gain bye-law approval.

In the two trenches furthest to the west from Parliament St., shallow layers of undisturbed organic deposits were uncovered which can be divided into two levels. Level One can be dated to the late 11th-l2th century as indicated by the small assemblage of finds retrieved. Level Two ranged over the l2th-l3th centuries with a couple of 14th-century pottery sherds also identified. The deposits relating to Level Two cut those of Level One.

In the trench nearest to Parliament St only deposits of inorganic clays and dense layers of marl with a scattering of cockle shells and animal bones were uncovered. No finds were retrieved from these deposits. It seems likely that these clay/marl deposits represent the remains of a clay bank which would have protected the landward side (west) of the early town from being inundated by the River Poddle which flowed northwards from Dublin Castle, down the present day line of Parliament St and emptied out into the River Liffey.

It must be noted that neither the original upper or lower levels of deposits were uncovered during the excavation, as the upper levels would presumably have been gouged out during the construction of the house in the 18th century and the lower levels remain in situ beneath the upstanding building.

Funding was provided by the developer.