2008:741 - Abbeyleix, Laois

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Laois Site name: Abbeyleix

Sites and Monuments Record No.: LA017–037 Licence number: 08E0088, 08E0113

Author: Denis Shine, Cultural Resource Development Services Ltd, Unit 4, Dundrum Business Park, Dundrum, Dublin 14.

Site type: Urban

ITM: E 644153m, N 684659m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 52.910961, -7.343572

CRDS Ltd have been retained by Laois County Council to act as the archaeological consultants on the Wastewater Improvement Scheme for County Laois, to be carried out in six towns or villages: Abbeyleix, Clonaslee, Durrow, Mountrath, Rathdowney and Stradbally. The development will consist in total of c. 15,000m of pipe trench and differs slightly for each location, with some of the sewer networks being upgraded or repaired. New treatment facilities have been proposed for each location. The scheme will also make river crossings in Abbeyleix, Clonaslee, Durrow, Mountrath and Stradbally. An assessment of the river crossing in Abbeyleix was completed by Aisling Collins of AUS, a subsidiary of CRDS (07D068 and 07R261).
In total c. 5000 linear metres will be laid in Abbeyleix. The scheme is largely within the confines of Abbeyleix town. The development passes in close proximity to a burial-ground and workhouse shown on the 1890 revision of the 6-inch OS map. These are within or adjacent to the grounds of district hospital in the townland of Knockamoe to the east of the town. Here the pipeline will be 1–1.2m in width but will have an associated wayleave of 5–10m. This was identified as an area of high archaeological potential in the original impact assessment, which recommended full-time monitoring in this area. However, with the approval of the National Monuments Service (NMS) and Laois County Council it was decided to test this area in advance of the development to better inform its design. Two licence numbers were issued by NMS for this excavation, 08E088 and 08E0113.
Two test-trenches, one 42m and the other 5m in length, were excavated on 27 February 2008. These were 2m in width and varied in depth from 0.5m to 1.9m. Both trenches contained large amounts of rubble presumably from the demolition of the workhouse which was constructed in 1842. However, ten intact walls belonging to the workhouse were also exposed. These were constructed of large limestone blocks, bonded with mortar. No features were exposed within these walls, with all the internal features appearing to have been removed during its demolition. No remains of the burial-ground to the workhouses to the immediate south (outside the grounds of the district hospital) were encountered.