2004:0550 - HATCH STREET UPPER, DUBLIN, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: HATCH STREET UPPER, DUBLIN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 04E1271

Author: Dominic Delany, Dominic Delany & Associates, Unit 3, Howley Court, Oranmore, Co. Galway.

Site type: Urban post-medieval

ITM: E 715790m, N 732884m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.333513, -6.261512

Test excavation was carried out on a proposed development site at Hatch Street Upper, Dublin 2, on 22 and 23 September 2004. Examination of early maps (Roche 1773 and Duncan 1821) indicated that this site was in open fields prior to the development of the Harcourt Street railway station in 1859. The station was closed in 1959 and the engine sheds were subsequently demolished. The station was redeveloped as a bar and restaurant (The Odeon) and, more recently, some of the underlying arches or vaults have been occupied by a nightclub (The Pod), while others were used for storage. A three-storey building, which accommodated the DIT School of Music, was built over the vaults. As a result of these developments, the site was raised significantly above street level. The demolition programme comprised the removal of all existing buildings, including parts of the vaults, and the reduction of the entire site to Hatch Street level.

Following demolition, a tracked excavator fitted with a wide toothless bucket was retained to open five trenches on the site. Trenches 1-4 extended north-west/south-east through the centre of the demolished vaults. A 0.15m-thick concrete slab, which formed the floor levels inside the vaults, was broken and removed. The slab overlay a mixed fill of rubble and soil, which had an average thickness of 0.7m and overlay the old topsoil, a compact grey/brown silt containing clay-pipe fragments and potsherds of probable 19th-century date. The topsoil was 0.2m thick and overlay light-yellow/brown and red/brown clayey sand subsoil. Trench 5 ran northeast/south-west across the area immediately northeast of the old railway arches. The ground in this area was still raised considerably above the existing street level and c. 3m of sandy rubble fill was excavated before the old topsoil was exposed. A wall foundation built of large roughly worked limestone blocks and extending 5m north-east/south-west was uncovered at the south-west end of this trench. The fabric of the wall was similar to all other walls pertaining to the Harcourt Street station and it appeared to be built on the same alignment as a partly demolished wall, which formed the north-east boundary of the railway arches. This structure clearly formed part of the old Harcourt Street railway station complex. No archaeological material was discovered, but further monitoring was recommended in those parts of the site that were unavailable for testing.