Archaeological remains of five children found as council construct cylce lane

Remains of five children and an adult may be more than 1,000 years old


The remains of six people – five children and an adult – discovered at an archaeological site outside Carrick-on-Shannon may have been there for more than 1,000 years, according to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The local historical society and some residents have expressed concern about the removal of material from the site, where Leitrim County Council is building a cycle lane and footpath.

Archaeologist Dominic Delany, who has been monitoring the site for two weeks, said he believed there were six burials – one adult and five children aged under 12 – along a 40m stretch at Attirory, off the N4, on the Dublin side of the town. Excavations are due to be carried out in the coming weeks.

An artefact discovered at the scene was either a holy water font or a bullaun, both of which are associated with early Christian sites, he said.

While there is no physical trace of a Christian settlement on the landscape, the site known as Caldragh Ring is a recorded monument.

Mary Dolan, spokeswoman for the Carrick-on-Shannon Historical Society, said the council informed her last June that archaeological monitoring was not considered necessary as it had not been requested by the department or other relevant bodies who had been notified by the planning authority.

“We wrote to the council expressing concern,” she said. The society was concerned that spoil had been removed from the site that had not been sieved and the society was also anxious to know what would become of the remains and artefacts, according to Ms Dolan.

Describing the finds as very exciting, she said few people were aware of the Caldaragh monument. “If they did excavate and find evidence of a monastery, it would be great for Carrick.”

The council said while the works had begun in May, 2015, it had not applied for an archaeological licence until August, as the earlier work had been outside the archaeological site.

Both Leitrim County Council and the department have stated that material taken from the area would be sieved.

However, Carmel McLoughlin, an archaeological student who lives beside the site, said she was horrified to see up to 20 lorry loads of spoil being removed. She believes it would be almost impossible to sieve it and retrieve any artefacts or remains now.

The department said any excavation would be done in compliance with national policy.