2006;1238 - Ballinvreena, Limerick

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Limerick Site name: Ballinvreena

Sites and Monuments Record No.: LI048–038 Licence number: 05E1073 ext.

Author: Tony Cummins, for Sheila Lane & Associates, Deanrock Business Park, Togher, Cork.

Site type: Site of holy well

ITM: E 570528m, N 626740m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.391405, -8.433002

Testing was due to be carried out at this waterlogged site before upgrading works to a water treatment building, which is located on the possible site of a holy well. There are no visible surface traces of the holy well and it may have been removed during construction of the water treatment building. Attempts to carry out test-trenching in 2005 were abandoned, as the trenches began to flood as soon as they were opened (Excavations 2005, No. 959). It was recommended that all proposed groundworks at this site be monitored and this was carried out in 2006.
The initial works involved the removal of vegetation overgrowth along a steep slope delimiting the south end of the site. This revealed a stretch of a partially collapsed drystone wall set into the basal portion of the slope. This wall was composed of cobble-sized sub-angular stones set into the subsoil along the side of the slope and it measured 0.7m in maximum height. The surviving remains of the wall were fragmentary in extent apparently due to the collapse of the loosely packed stones. This feature appeared to be a retaining wall designed to consolidate the base of the slope rather than the remains of an enclosing element surrounding the site of the holy well. There were no artefacts found in association with the drystone wall and it is, therefore, of indeterminate date. The vegetation clearance works were halted in this area; the wall was cordoned off during upgrading works and it will be preserved in situ.
There were no archaeological features or finds recorded during monitoring of the areas impacted on by groundworks to the east of the existing water supply building. The stratigraphy consisted of a thin modern gravel surface, which directly overlay the glacial till subsoil. The existing access road will be retained and this lessened the amount of ground disturbance carried out as part of the upgrading works. It appeared that this area had been extensively disturbed during the construction of the existing water treatment building and this may have removed the remains of the holy well.