1991:051 - Barrack Lane, Lusk, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: Barrack Lane, Lusk

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 8:10 Licence number:

Author: Geraldine Stout, Chapel Road. Julianstown, Co. Meath.

Site type: Ecclesiastical enclosure

ITM: E 721425m, N 754422m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.525713, -6.168655

The investigations were carried out for Round Tower Tomatoes Ltd. in compliance with a directive from Dublin County Council issued on the 27th April 1991. The field tested lies 200m south of the Round Tower at Lusk and immediately north of St MacCullin’s Well. It is situated within the south-west quadrant of a possible outer monastic enclosure which is evident in the curving lines of the Dublin road and in a boundary north-west of the churchyard.

The placename Lusk is conventionally regarded as being derived from Lusca, an underground vault or chamber, which is presumed to refer to the tomb of St MacCullin, Lusk’s founding saint, who died in 496 or 498 AD according to the Annals of Ulster. The monastry was a very important ecclesiastical centre in north Dublin and its abbots are mentioned in the annals from the 7th to the 10th century. The monastery was attacked on two occasions by the Vikings, in 826 and 855 AD (A.U.). In the 12th century the monastic lands formed part of the see lands of the Archbishop of Dublin. In the 13th century a borough was founded by the Archbishop of Lusk and in an extent of 1326 thirty six burgages were held for an annual rent of thirty seven shillings. The field investigated is enclosed within a possible preNorman outer monastic enclosure, evident in the curving lines of the Dublin road and in a boundary north-west of the churchyard. Immediately to the south in the back garden of a house is St MacCullin’s Well. A concrete pipe encloses the water and nothing else is evident. The stone with the marks of the saint, a probable ballaun stone mentioned by Stubbs in 1914, has been removed.

Investigations were confined to a one metre wide machine dug trench which ran roughly north-east/south-west across the site with lateral trenches running east and west from the main trench. All three were excavated to boulder clay at a depth of 0.5m to 0.6m on average. The stratigraphy consisted basically of top sod; a soft dark clay loam and stones sub-soil, and then boulder clay. The only feature exposed was a linear ditch or drain 1.3m wide and 0.45m deep which runs parallel to the roadside boundary. This was filled with dark silty clay and the only stratified finds were some fragments of animal bones. The date of this feature is therefore uncertain. Amongst the unstratified finds was an assemblage of 13th- to 15th-century pottery and two flint side scrapers.