2004:0104 - CAVAN: 29 Bridge Street, Cavan

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Cavan Site name: CAVAN: 29 Bridge Street

Sites and Monuments Record No.: CV020-055 Licence number: 04E0541

Author: Finola O'Carroll, Cultural Resource Development Services Ltd.

Site type: No archaeology found

Period/Dating: N/A

ITM: E 641842m, N 804661m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.989512, -7.361966

An assessment was undertaken prior to the development of proposed apartments and a new shop unit at 29 Bridge Street and River Street, Cavan, on behalf of St Joseph's Conference, St Vincent de Paul. The town developed at Cavan in the later Middle Ages under the patronage of the O'Reilly family. A Franciscan friary was founded at Tullymongan Lower between 1300 and 1330 by Gilla-Isu Roe O'Reilly. It was burned on several occasions and all that remains today is a three-storey square tower located due north of the proposed development. Netherclift's plan of Cavan town (c. 1593; reproduced in O'Connell 1937, 301) shows that by the end of the 16th century it was a place of some standing. It had two principal streets, corresponding to the present Main Street and Bridge Street. The plan also shows the bridge, the Franciscan monastery, the market cross, the O'Reilly castle and about fifty houses.

There was a 19th/20th-century building standing on the site until its recent demolition; where possible, foundations have been positioned on those of the earlier building. The site is very close to the river, which has been canalised. The canalisation of the river, and the bridge and all the buildings around are modern (although the bridge is located in the place of a medieval one). The area close to the bridge was not impacted on by the development.

The cleared surface deposit was a mixture of rubble and gravels with sand and red brick. Six trenches were excavated using a mini-digger fitted with a 0.8m-wide toothed bucket. The trenches were 1m wide and of variable depth, averaging around 1.2m. All the trenches revealed either the remains of the older structures (19th/20th-century) or very shallow modern deposits overlying natural subsoil. The natural subsoil consists of light-greyish-brown gravels and stones, poorly sorted, mixed with sand of different sizes. They were very heterogeneous deposits, characteristic of riverine deposits. Nothing of archaeological significance was recovered.

O'Connell, P. 1937 The Diocese of Kilmore: its history and antiquities. Dublin.
Smyth, T.S. 1979 Phases of history in the town of Cavan, Breifne 19, 358-68.

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