2004:0558 - MERRION ROAD, DUBLIN, Dublin

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Dublin Site name: MERRION ROAD, DUBLIN

Sites and Monuments Record No.: SMR 23:1-4 Licence number: 04E0167

Author: Christine Baker, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Site type: Monitoring

ITM: E 718879m, N 731519m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.320572, -6.215671

An eight-week monitoring programme took place at the former lands of the Sisters of Charity, Merrion Road, Dublin 4, the southern limit of which corresponds with the former parliamentary boundary of the city of Dublin, now the city limits. The site had been subject to an assessment carried out in August 2002 by Ron Humphrey, where 38 trenches had been opened resulting in the identification of archaeological features across the site including 'undated ditches' (Excavations 2002, No. 563, 02E1260). The monitoring programme consisted of three elements. The first was the developer-led removal of topsoil to allow for the construction of an access road and show apartments, the second was undertaken as an archaeological exercise in the areas of potential identified by the previous testing programme. The third was the removal of topsoil over the remainder of the site.

The first element of monitoring established the nature of those remains previously identified in the testing programme as ditches of indeterminate date. A series of hand-dug sondages identified these features as drainage and cultivation ditches dating to the 18th/19th centuries. The topsoil removal along the line of the access road acted as a section across the entire east-west extent of the site. It showed a landscape which had been modified over the centuries. The subsoil within the majority of Field 1 consisted of sand, terminating in an extensive bank of water-rolled stone and gravel in a sand matrix towards its western limit. This indicates that the shoreline in this area was once much further west. Not only must this area have been reclaimed, but the frequent identification of land drains points to an area prone to flooding and its subsequent management. There was, however, little to indicate when such reclamation would have taken place. No revetments were identified and any deposits in this area relate to dump episodes of the 19th century.

The second element of monitoring revealed activity possibly dating to the 18th/19th century towards the northern limit of the site. Although severely truncated by a concentration of land drains, the clay deposits may infer the production of bricks, as illustrated on Rocque's map of 1760. The continued use of the area is exemplified by the presence of 19th-century pottery and the discovery of a 19th-century well. Medieval activity was identified adjacent to the southern limit of the site. Consisting of a series of truncated pits and surfaces, it was excavated under licence 04E0272 (No. 559 below). Topsoil removal over the remainder of the site revealed no features or artefacts of archaeological significance.