2003:1409 - KELLS: The Sisters of Mercy Convent, Kenlis Place, Meath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Meath Site name: KELLS: The Sisters of Mercy Convent, Kenlis Place

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 02E1851

Author: E. Eoin Sullivan, for Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd.

Site type: No archaeology found

Period/Dating: N/A

ITM: E 674235m, N 775717m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.725832, -6.875102

The site of a proposed new residence and associated site works within the grounds of the Sisters of Mercy Convent, Kenlis Place, Kells, Co. Meath, was tested on the basis of seven mechanically excavated trenches. The site is located within the zone of archaeological potential for the town of Kells. The conjectural position of the town wall of medieval Kells is shown to run along, or close to, the line of the northern perimeter wall of the convent garden. The conjectural position is based upon the property boundaries of 1762 (Simms 1990). The present perimeter wall consists of a mass concrete construction.

An old school building and a series of agricultural buildings are shown on the site on the OS map (1910), the school being demolished in the early 1980s and the land subsequently planted as a garden for the convent. The land to the south-east of the garden is a field used for grazing as part of the convent's farm. No surface features of archaeological significance were identified during the initial site inspection.

Three trenches were located along the present eastern boundary wall of the site. They revealed the presence of a cobbled surface at a depth of 1.2m below the present ground surface. The association between the cobbled surface and the stone foundations of the old school could not be ascertained on the basis of the test excavation. The remaining trenches in the area revealed heavily disturbed ground with infilled building debris.

Two trenches excavated within the garden revealed a thick organic topsoil with several fragments of 20th-century pottery and modern glass. Both the remaining trenches were excavated in the field and the associated yard; the latter revealed a black organic lens consisting of a stony soil, which produced a single piece of animal bone.

The testing revealed no archaeological evidence for the medieval town wall passing through the site. If it did pass through the site, it was probably removed before the construction of the school. On the basis of the discovery of the cobbled area, it was recommended that the construction of the foundations be monitored to ascertain its full significance.

Simms, A. 1990 Kells - Irish historic town atlas No. 4. Dublin.

2 Killiney View, Albert Road Lower, Glenageary, Co. Dublin