2003:1017 - 43 JOHN STREET UPPER (LAWLOR’S PUBLIC HOUSE), KILKENNY, Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: 43 JOHN STREET UPPER (LAWLOR’S PUBLIC HOUSE), KILKENNY

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 03E0309

Author: Cóilín Ó Drisceoil, Tulla, Threecastles, Co. Kilkenny.

Site type: Urban

ITM: E 651439m, N 656743m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.659432, -7.239642

An assessment of a proposed commercial/residential development at No. 43 John Street Upper, Kilkenny, was requested. The development area was within a protected structure, an early 20th-century two-storey bar. It was proposed to demolish modern buildings to the rear of the structure and construct a new two-storey block, in addition to refurbishment and alterations to the structure. As a component of the assessment, testing was undertaken.
The development area lay on the eastern bank of the River Nore immediately outside the medieval suburb of St John. The suburb, an extension of the main medieval town (Hightown) on the western side of the Nore, grew up around St John’s Abbey, which was founded in 1211. The suburb was walled and the development area was situated 120m outside the postulated line of the walls.
The Rocque map also shows the area as containing a series of rectangular buildings within a long property boundary. Property deeds indicate that a building was present on the site in 1701. The Dublin road, which defines the east side of the development area, was opened in 1818 and appears to have replaced a less substantial routeway marked on Rocque’s map (1758). This is likely to have increased development on the east side of John Street and led to the construction of the Catholic church of St John the Evangelist at the rear of the site in 1897–1907. Previous investigations in the vicinity by Edmond O’Donovan and Paul Stevens uncovered a watercourse leading to a mill-race (Excavations 1996, No. 210, 96E0131), a portion of the defensive wall and ditch (Excavations 1999, No. 446, 95E0053 ext.) and, by Ken Hanley at 26–29 John Street, medieval pits and associated features (Excavations 2000, Nos 540–541, 00E0711).
Testing took place on 8 March 2003. Four test-pits were excavated by hand. A broadly similar stratigraphic sequence was noted in each. Under a concrete floor, a modern red-brick rubble deposit overlay a ‘garden soil’ of some 0.3m in depth. This is likely to equate with the garden shown on the Rocque map.