1992:133 - CARLINGFORD: Holy Trinity Church, Louth

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Louth Site name: CARLINGFORD: Holy Trinity Church

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

Author: Carol Gleeson and Dermot Moore, Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust

Site type: Graveyard

Period/Dating: Multi-period

ITM: E 718743m, N 811910m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.042669, -6.186954

In February 1991 the Church of Ireland community leased their semi-derelict church to the Carlingford Lough Heritage Trust to be restored for use as a visitor and cultural centre.

The restoration of Holy Trinity Church involved the digging of a duct to house heating and electrical cables along the internal north and south walls of the building. This led to the discovery of skeletons in shallow graves beneath the floor boards. Twenty extended inhumations with an east-west orientation with heads to the west were found. All were buried in simple grave cuts with no evidence of coffins or other grave goods. The majority were cut through each other causing considerable dislocation and loss of material. In some cases skeletons were reinterred with later burials. The disturbance of the burials may have occurred during renovations to the floor in the 19th century.

The skeletal remains consisted of 20 in situ burials and a minimum of 32 disarticulated individuals. Of the 20 in situ burials 10 were males, 6 were females and 4 were juveniles. At least 15 of the disarticulated remains were male, 9 were female and 4 were juveniles.

The skeletal report indicated that the antemortem tooth-loss rate was high and hypoplastic defects in the enamels were noted in several individuals. Several examples of periostitis of the lower end of the tibiae were found and one example of osteomyletis of a tibia was found among the disarticulated remains. There were 2 examples of major trauma to the skull, one was a result of trephination, a form of cranial surgery, and the other had suffered a large sword wound. Both individuals appear to have survived their trauma.

Two bones were dated using the C 14 method. One bone has a calibrated age range of AD 1517-1666, and the other bone sample has a calibrated age range of AD 1442-1650. The skeletal remains were reburied in the graveyard which surrounds the Holy Trinity Church.