1991:071 - Sceilig Michael, Kerry

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kerry Site name: Sceilig Michael

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

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

Site type: Early Christian monastery

ITM: E 424677m, N 560649m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 51.770662, -10.540524

Repair work to the southern retaining wall of the terrace known as 'The Monks' Garden' necessitated the removal of the deposits immediately behind the wall. An area 8m x 5m was opened and stepped down to a maximum depth of 2.8m adjacent to the interior wall face. The excavation revealed that the present retaining wall was a secondary feature constructed largely on the foundations of a more substantial earlier wall.

The primary wall foundations (1.2m-1.3m in width) rested on large natural boulders overlying bedrock. The terrace itself had been formed of boulders and stoney chippings in a matrix of sterile silty clay. At some stage in the history of the site the primary wall collapsed downslope taking with it much of the built-up deposits in the garden.

The secondary wall dates to the 19th century and was built either by the lighthouse personnel who occupied the monastery for a brief period, or by the Board of Works who carried out some reconstruction here at the end of the last century.