1994:011 - Killuney, Armagh

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Armagh Site name: Killuney

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 12:45 Licence number:

Author: Eoin Halpin, ADS Ltd., Unit 5, Westlink Enterprise Centre, 30-50 Distillery St., Belfast BT12 5BJ.

Site type: Church and graveyard

ITM: E 689132m, N 845802m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 54.353096, -6.628858

This assessment took place over a four-day period between September 26-29. It was carried out on behalf of the DoE Environment Service on foot of a planning application. In their Medieval Religious Houses, Ireland, Gwynn and Hadcock (1970, 393), quoting earlier authorities, suggest Killuney is the same as the site of Kill-unche, a site associated with St Nectan, a disciple, and nephew of St Patrick. Other archaeological and antiquarian research into the sites and monuments associated with the townland of Killuney have recorded a church site (Reeves ms, 1879), and a site used for burial in Famine times (Patterson ms). Finally, recent information from a local farmer has identified a particular field as the Graveyard Field where it is said the victims of the Famine were buried. It is therefore possible that the early Patrician site of Kill-unche, the church site recorded by Reeves, the burial ground recorded by Patterson and the graveyard field identified by the farmer are one and the same site.

The area in question is situated at the south-western end of a prominent glacial hillock, one of a number in the area. It slopes gradually down towards the south-west, creating a relatively flat area, before dropping quite steeply towards the course of an unnamed burn which defines the southern limit of the field. The topography effectively limits the areas most likely to contain archaeological remains i.e. on the flattish summit of the hillock. It was with this in mind that the layout of trenches was devised. Much of the surrounding ground is covered in housing developments, with a school recently constructed immediately to the east. Despite the machine excavation of six 30m long trenches covering much of the level area of the field, nothing of archaeological significance was uncovered.