2016:004 - Court Devenish, Athlone, Westmeath

NMI Burial Excavation Records

County: Westmeath Site name: Court Devenish, Athlone

Sites and Monuments Record No.: WM029-042035 Licence number: 15E0582

Author: Eoin Halpin

Site type: Urban

ITM: E 604042m, N 741649m

Latitude, Longitude (decimal degrees): 53.425298, -7.939341

The site is located within the zone of archaeological potential associated with Athlone, WM029-042-, and is adjacent to the town walls, WM029-042020 and the 17th-century Court Devenish House, WM029-042035. In addition, much of the site works was to take place on the Protected Structure (No 148), which is listed on the NIAH (Reg. No. 15007165) as a building of regional importance.
Following detailed discussions between the developer and the heritage authorities, it was agreed that the vast majority of the new services would use existing conduits. Where this was not possible, the trench lines of old services would be reused to house new service lines and finally, where new service lines were required, they would placed so that the shortest lengths of ground disturbance was required.
This strategy meant that only some 45m of new trenching was required, which ranged in depth from 0.3m to 0.6m. The ground to the west of the house was found to consist of modern rubble and gravels, to a depth of over 0.5m, most likely the result of building and re-building phases of the ‘new’ Court Devenish house.
To the north of the house, in an area which until recently was open space and lawns, the ground was found to consist of a significant depth, over 1m, of ‘garden soil’, an homogenous deposit of highly humic clay loam, a product of mulching over the years in a confined urban space.
In all cases the new services will either be dug into modern made ground or homogenous garden soils.
This is also true of the proposed kerbing, to run parallel to and some 1.5m from the town wall, which forms the north-eastern boundary to the site. In this case, due to the fact that the foundations for the kerbing will only require a maximum trench depth of 0.3m, there will be no impact on the wall or any surviving subsoil archaeology.
Finally, two trial pits were excavated inside Court Devenish gate, and here also, modern made ground was seen to extend to a depth of over 0.3m, meaning the excavation of the cable trench will not impact on any significant archaeological deposits.

AHC Ltd, 36 Ballywillwill Road, Castlewellan, Co. Down