2003:1028 - 15–16 VICAR’S STREET, KILKENNY, Kilkenny

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Kilkenny Site name: 15–16 VICAR’S STREET, KILKENNY

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 19:26 Licence number: 03E0707

Author: John Tierney, Eachtra Archaeological Projects, Ballycurreen Industrial Estate, Kinsale Road, Cork.

Site type: Urban

ITM: E 650290m, N 656493m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.657294, -7.256674

In advance of the construction of a three- to four-storey hotel, it is proposed to demolish the existing 30-year-old buildings. The site is within the zone of archaeological potential for Kilkenny. The site was tested and the northern boundary wall surveyed.
The excavation uncovered what appear to be the walls and possible floor levels of a potential later medieval structure. The site was difficult to test, because it is still being used by five different businesses; the rubble infill encountered in four of the five trenches was very unstable and present ground levels within the site are largely the result of infilling in the 1950s. The foundations of the preceding buildings on 15 and 16 Vicar’s Street were encountered at a depth of 0.5m (Trench 1) and 1m (Trench 2) below present ground surface. The ground slopes moderately between the two trenches, thus explaining the discrepancy in levels. Both walls were 1.1m thick, which is 0.2m thicker than the north gable wall of 17 Vicar’s Street. The location of the foundation walls and their dimensions tally with a number of references to the house of the Vicar’s Choral, a later medieval structure.
The ground level of the laneway associated with 15 Vicar’s Street was encountered at a depth of 1m, 1.4m and 1.6m below present ground level, in Trenches 2, 3 and 4, respectively. This indicates the old but modern ground level that was present before the site was infilled. Potential archaeological remains were encountered at the south end of Trench 1 at a depth of 0.5m below present ground level. These sediments consisted of apparent domestic refuse and a hearth site. They appear to pre-date the foundations of the previous buildings on the property. These potential archaeological sediments will be affected by the ground-floor foundations.
The southern face of the northern boundary wall consists of four sections, two of which related to two surviving garden buildings in 14 Vicar’s Street and to two buildings within 15 Vicar’s Street. The latter buildings, demolished some time in the 20th century, can be seen on maps from the 1840s and still survived on early 20th-century OS maps.