2003:1966 - COLLINSTOWN: Barbavilla Demesne, Westmeath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Westmeath Site name: COLLINSTOWN: Barbavilla Demesne

Sites and Monuments Record No.: WM008-077---- Licence number: 03E0994

Author: Daniel Noonan, The Archaeology Company

Site type: No archaeology found

Period/Dating: N/A

ITM: E 651283m, N 765109m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.633276, -7.224609

Monitoring of topsoil clearance associated with groundworks for the Collinstown Sewerage Improvement Scheme, Collinstown, Co. Westmeath, was carried out. The scheme involved 2km of new pipework running south along the road from Collinstown to Barbavilla House and westwards through the estate grounds of Barbavilla House to an outflow into the Yellow River. Monitoring was required for the 950m of topsoil-stripping associated with the run through the estate lands to the connection with manhole 12, on the road. The remainder of the pipework used existing trenches on the side of the road.

Barbavilla House is a long, two-storey, nine-bay Georgian house with pediments, built in a 17th-century fashion similar to Beaulieu, Eyrecourt, Co. Galway, and Ballyburly in Co. Offaly. The environs of Barbavilla House are supposed to house the remains of a castle (SMR 8:76). The area surrounding Barbavilla Demesne appears to be a particularly rich Early Christian landscape, where the remains of many ringforts can be seen. The pipeline passes within 40m of the northern edge of a ringfort.

Topsoil was removed with a mechanical excavator using a 2m-wide bucket. The terrain monitored varied significantly along the length of the pipe laying. The area close to the Yellow River was peaty and marshy and there was only 0.3m of peat remaining over white sandy subsoil. The soil became increasingly more clayey in texture in the central area of the Barbavilla Demesne agricultural land and away from the Yellow River. Here the ploughsoil was an orange/brown clay extending to a depth of 0.5m. There were some small angular stones present in this layer of ploughsoil. The natural subsoil of the agricultural land was yellow/brown stony clay with some larger angular stones present in its make-up.

No finds or features of archaeological significance were uncovered during monitoring.

Birr Technology Centre, Mill Island, Birr, Co. Offaly