2008:754 - Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Leitrim Site name: Carrick-on-Shannon

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 07E0747

Author: Martin A. Timoney, Bóthar an Chorainn, Cloonagh, Keash, Ballymote, Co. Sligo.

Site type: Urban – various

ITM: E 594385m, N 799544m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.945188, -8.085522

This small multi-part sewage collection, pipe-laying and rising water main development was constructed for Leitrim County Council in the townlands of Attifinlay, Ballynamony, Cloonsheebane, Drummagh, Keenaghan, Kilboderry, Lisnabrack and Townparks, Co. Leitrim, and Cloonskeeveen, Cortober and Drishoge, Co. Roscommon (see below No. 1030), all in or near Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. The development overall contract was for 4536m of ducting for sewer replacement, new sewer and rising main. The greater part of the trench opening was archaeologically uneventful, apart from the following discoveries, all of them without prior indication.

The Harbour, Quay Road, Townparks, Carrick-on-Shannon, 193722 299433

A face of the old quay wall was encountered just south-east of the Boating Clubhouse on The Harbour and a minor adjustment of the route allowed the pipeline to go under the kerbstone of the quay wall. Later the quay wall was again encountered 0.32m under the present road surface to the east of the middle of the clubhouse. Every effort was made to get under the stones but the levels for the sewage pipes would not allow the pipes to work under these stones. The stones were lifted and set to one side for possible reuse as seating in the adjacent public park, which is being enhanced at present. The two stones which were moved measured 1.3m by 0.6m by 0.31m and 1.07m by 0.61m by 0.31m. The tooled face to the water was sloped, making the base about 40mm wider than the top.

Examination of the first-edition OS map of Carrick-on-Shannon indicates that the revetment of the harbour quayside was 15m back from the present one, taking a curved route rather than the present shorter straight route; the townland boundary actually follows the old quay face.

Quay Road Carpark, Townparks, Carrick-on-Shannon, 193752 299344

A substantial 4.54m-long beam, 0.37m by 0.18m, was found in the parking area immediately upriver of Carrick-on-Shannon Bridge on the Leitrim side of the river. Dr Michael O’Connell, Department of Botany, NUIG, confirmed that it is oak. It was under and on the same line as a major ESB cable and so was probably in a secondary position in a trench. One end was damaged in the past, while the 0.35m-long split of the other end seems purposeful. There are what appear to be axe marks on one surface but otherwise there is no indication of shaping of the beam, except for a 40mm-wide notch towards one end. There were no other finds hereabouts.

The beam, sample Q11108, was dendrochronologically dated by Mr David Brown at Queen’s University, Belfast. The measured 87 annual growth rings, running from the centre or pith of the tree, date from ad 1501 to ad 1587. They do not reach the heartwood/sapwood boundary and it is possible that many heartwood rings are missing, due to the heavy wood working of the beam. The calculated estimated felling date range for the tree will be after ad 1619. This is calculated by adding the Belfast sapwood estimate of 3269 years from the date of the last measured ring. Mr Brown suggests that the likely felling date for the tree, considering there is an unknown number of missing heartwood rings, would have been in the second half of the 17th century, most probably after ad 1660.

We know of three successive bridges across the Shannon at Carrick-on-Shannon. The present bridge dating to 1845–1846 succeeded an eleven-arched stone bridge built in 1718 under the direction of Glover, a Scottish engineer; the 1718 bridge replaced a wooden structure built by 1683. The substantial beam may be from the wooden bridge built by ad 1683 or may perhaps be a constructional beam from the ad 1718 bridge.

Bypass Road, Townparks, Carrick-on-Shannon, 193815 299325

The town of Carrick-on-Shannon was established by James I about 1611, although there was an earlier O’Rourke castle. A section pipeline close to the scant remnants of a castle here was along that of an earlier trench. At 0.35m below the present road surface a 0.35m thick layer of white mortar was exposed for a length of 9m on both sides of the trench. A large lump of mortar measuring 0.56m by 0.53m by 0.2m had been dug up by the previous trench diggers and had been put back in the trench. As the material in the lump of mortar and that in the layer look to be identical and they come from contexts beside the ?17th-century military castle, it can be assumed that both should be associated with that castle. There were no other finds in the disturbed material in this trench.