2010:312 - Various townlands, Galway

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Galway Site name: Various townlands

Sites and Monuments Record No.: N/A Licence number: 10E0038

Author: Richard Jennings, Kilkenny Archaeology, 1 The Spires, Dean Street, Kilkenny.

Site type: Monitoring

ITM: E 543035m, N 728717m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.305675, -8.854694

Monitoring was requested of two 110kV ESB overhead power lines linking Cashla 220kV substation, which is located c. 12km east of Galway city, with the existing Dalton–Galway 110kV line at Barravilla and Baile Chlair near Claregalway. A total of 33 angle masts and 85 pole sets were excavated along the route, which predominately crossed fields of lush green pasture. The footings of all the angle masts and a small sample of pole sets were required to be monitored. There were four footings per angle mast with each being 3.3m2 or 2.3m2 in shape depending upon the type of angle mast used.

The route is approximately 22km long and can be divided into three areas: Barrettspark to Lisheenavalla (mast/pole numbers 1–16); Lisheenavalla to Barravilla (mast/pole numbers 17–81); Lisheenavalla to Baile Chlair (mast/pole numbers 82–118).

Barretspark to Lisheenavalla (numbers 1–16)

This 2.9km section of the route, which crossed townlands Barrettspark, Moor, Cashla, and Lisheenavalla, was made up entirely of angle masts because two lines were being carried from the Cashla 220kV substation to Lisheenavalla. Nothing of archaeological potential was identified in the angle mast footings. The topsoil at these masts was usually a dark-brown sandy silt or clayey silt up to 0.4m deep while the subsoil was a light-grey sandy gravel.

A previously unrecorded ring-barrow was identified in the centre of the same field as angle mast 15 in Lisheenavalla, about 40m to the south-west of the mast. The barrow is not shown on the first- and second-edition OS mapping but is visible on 1995 and later aerial photographs. A gas pipeline which also passes through the field can be seen to kink around the barrow on the 2005 aerial photograph. The barrow measures 14m east–west x 16m. It comprises a small low mound 9.5m x 11.5m defined by a 1.5m-wide ditch with a 3m-wide low surrounding bank. The top of the bank is 0.3m above the interior area. A possible second monument lies c. 60m south-east of the barrow in the same field. It is covered in long grass and may simply be a pond that measures 6m east–west x 7m with an interior depth of 0.6m, but its proximity to the barrow raises the possibility that it is also archaeological. The field in which the barrow is located is low and flat and there are good views in all directions.

An unusual stone structure was identified to the west of angle mast 6 in Cashla. It measured 4m north–south x 4.5m x 2.7m high and is depicted on the second- but not the first-edition OS map. It was built above the intersection of four field boundaries. It resembles an elaborate crossing point with four sets of stone steps leading up to a viewing platform or watchtower.

Lisheenavalla to Barravilla (numbers 17–81)

The two lines split at Lisheenavalla and headed north-east to Barravilla and south-west to Baile Chlair. The single line heading to Barravilla ran from Lisheenavalla into Cregcarragh and Ballymoneen before turning north in Grange East. It then crossed into Coolaran, where it met the River Clare. The line crossed the river into Cahernashilleeny. It ran west through Lackagh Beg and north-west into Cnoc Tua Mor and Knockdoebeg West. From there it crossed the main Galway–Gort road and continued west through An Caran Carraghy, Carheeny, Baunmore and Barravilla, where it joined the existing Dalton–Galway 110kv line.

Nine angle masts (22, 24, 31, 42, 52, 54, 62, 75 and 81) and nine pole sets located on either side of the River Clare (38–41 and 43–47) in an area described as having moderate to high archaeological potential in the EIS were monitored in these townlands. Nothing of archaeological potential was discovered. The topsoil composition varied in the areas. It was c. 0.4m deep near the river and c. 0.1–0.2m elsewhere. The subsoil was typically a sticky grey clay.

Lisheenavalla to Baile Chlair (numbers 82–118)

The single line heading from Lisheenavalla to Baile Chlair crossed into Islandmore and An Chathair Laith, where it turned north-west into Gort an tSleibe, whose northern border is adjacent to the River Clare. The line crossed the river into Na Croisíní and ran north-west through Cill Torrog, Cinn Uisce and into Baile Chlair, where it joined up with the existing Dalton–Galway 110kv line.

Monitoring of eight angle masts (82, 88, 92, 96, 98, 113, 116 and 118) and a small sample of pole sets in these townlands yielded no archaeological remains. Topsoil varied in composition and was on average 0.4m deep. Subsoil was typically a pale greyish/yellow sandy gravel.