Ballygannon Woodland Site, County Wicklow; Archaeological Report
This site is located approximately 2km north of Rathdrum town, Co. Wicklow (Figure 60). This forest site is located within both a 'Special Area of Conservation' (SAC) and a 'Natural Heritage Area' (NHA).
2.16.2 Receiving Environment
Wicklow or in Irish "Cill Mhaintáin"; from a Danish name meaning "Viking meadow" (Flanaghan & Flanaghan 1994, 125); old forms of the name: Wkynnglo, Wygyngelo, Wykinlo. Old Irish name "Kilmantain", the church of St. Mantan, one of St. Patrick's disciples. This saint according to the Annals of Clonmacnoise and other authorities, had his front teeth knocked out by a blow of a stone, from one of the barbarians who opposed St Patrick's landing in Wicklow; hence he was called "Mantan", or 'the toothless' (Joyce 1856, 75).
Ballygannon; derives from "Gannon's or McGannon's town" (Joyce 1920 ed., 23). Ballygannon or in Irish "Baile na gcanónach". The townland is the name of four townlands near Rathdrum.
1567 "Balyankanan"; "Balycanan" (probably identical) FI.
1604 "Ballynegananaghe" CPR.
1617 "Ballinchanani" CI.
c.1660 "Ballycannon" BS
c.1810 "B.ganon" NA (Price 1980, 10).
Ballinacor North; "Ballinacor" or in Irish "Baile na Cora" meaning "Homestead of the Weir" (Flanaghan & Flanaghan 1994, 170).
Rathdrum; in Irish "Ráth Droma" meaning "the fort of the long hill" (Joyce 1856, 76).
The topography of the site comprises two components:
(i) River valley and hillside
(ii) Flat and dry areas
An analysis of Ordnance Survey maps from the early nineteenth century to date gives a picture of the development of the townland over time.
The Down Survey map c.1656 shows the barony of Ballinacor North and the parish of Rathdrum (Figure 62). The map shows 'Rathdrum Church' and a number of trees, three in total, are annotated on the 1656 map to the north-west of the church, representing the forest site of Ballygannon.
The 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1838-1839) shows the forest area completely forested (Figure 63). The forest site is divided between two townlands; on the west Ballygannon and on the east Rathdrum. The townland of Ballygannon contains 299 acres 2 roods and 9 perches. The forest site is located north-west of the village of Rathdrum. The townland of Rathdrum contains 291 acres and 28 perches. The forest site comprises the northern portion of both townlands. The southern portion of Ballygannon townland is devoid of forestry while the southern portion of Rathdrum townland shows some tree-lined field boundaries near 'Avon Park' House and close to the village of Rathdrum.
The townland of Copse to the north of the forest site is densely wooded with 'Copse Ho.' clearly defined surrounded by forests. The majority of the townland is forested with the rest subdivided into rectilinear field plots many of which are tree-lined. The townland of Ballinderry Lower is located to the west of the forest site and shows a small area forested. The area around 'Ballinderry Ho.' is planted with formal gardens and tree-lined plots as well as in the north-east corner of the townland, a small area of woodland is located. The townland of 'Stump of the castle' is densely wooded along its westernmost boundary and the southern end of the townland forms the north-eastern boundary of the forest site within Ballygannon townland.
The 3rd edition Ordnance Survey map (1908-1910) shows no change in the forest cover over Ballygannon forest site and adjoining townlands (Figure 64). The 'Avonmore River' forms the dividing line between Ballygannon townland and Stump of the Castle on the north-east. Ballygannon townland contains 297 acres 3 roods and 11 perches in 1910. A 'Grave Yard' is located directly south of the forest site within the townland. In addition a 'Union Workhouse' and 'Fever Hospital' are located in the southern end of the townland, north-west of the village of Rathdrum. 'Avon Park' house is located within Rathdrum townland. The townland of Copse to the north of Ballygannon is densely wooded with 'Copse House' clearly shown as well as a 'Lodge' to the south of the house. The western half of the townland of Stump of the Castle is still densely forested in 1910.
Wicklow is today one of Ireland's most heavily afforested counties with 18 per cent of its total area under forest, compared to the national average of 5 per cent. The forest of sitka spruce which now predominate in Wicklow are relatively young, most having been planted since the early 1920's, and are very different from the largely deciduous woodlands of earlier centuries.
Pollen studies aid in identifying the presence of types of trees in our landscape during this time. For example the existence of pine and birch forests has been documented in upland Wicklow (Hannigan & Nolan 1994, 55).
The written evidence for the distribution of woodland in county Wicklow is poor for the earlier period. However, it is possible to gauge an extent of the woods from the townland names, which were fixed by the eight century.
indicate the existence of some type of tree cover in these locations.
It is clear that large tracts of ancient woodland existed in Wicklow
(Ibid, 56). Hannigan and Nolan note that the trees in the Wicklow
woods included as follows:
Ash (Coolafunshoge, Ballinafunshoge)
Willow (Corsillagh, Parknasilloge)
Hazel (Barnacoyle, Callowhill)
Birch (Bahand, Barnavay)
Holly (Cullenmore, Lugaculleen)
Elder (Troman, Rrumonmore)
Yew (Oghil, Newry and Newrath)
Some areas were covered with woody scrub. Some written evidence for a wooded county Wicklow comes from the St. Kevins Life in the eight century which describes the valleys east and west of the mountains of the Wicklow Gap as being covered in dense deserted forest (Ibid, 57).
"The Anglo-Norman invasion had important implications for woodlands in the vicinity of Dublin and Wicklow. They brought with them the idea of private ownership of the land and what stood upon it. The woods of Wicklow, because of their proximity to Dublin, were particularly attractive. A large proportion of land in the county came under the operation of forest laws as may be seen by the license granted to Henry II in 1229 to Luke, archbishop of Dublin, for 'the deforestation of certain lands of that state' (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 27). While forests were in Norman hands they were exploited for the English market. The Normans introduced resources and machinery to fell and export timber, but except for Wicklow there was no significant attempt at management. At this time the Gaelic population of county Wicklow was almost exclusively confined to wooded uplands where pastoral activities formed the basis of their economy. Uncharted dense forests were major assets for a lightly armed, highly mobile Irish army. Richard II realised that the greatest threat to the Anglo-Norman colony was the Leinster forest. In 1399 he employed five thousand people to cut a way through the forest for the royal army on its trek from the Barrow valley (stronghold of Art MacMurrough) to the Wicklow coast. From their woodland refuges Mac Murrough's men picked off stragglers at the rear of the royal army. The expedition left Richard with a famished and very much reduced army by the time he reached the coast. Two centuries after Richard's invasion, the Wicklow forests, although less extensive, were still harbouring the Leinster clans" (Ibid, 28).
"It is difficult to estimate the extent of woodland in Wicklow at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The Down Survey maps of 1655 show some woodlands but only forfeited land were surveyed and it is an incomplete record. Some woods are referred to as timber woods but many are classified as woody pastures. The density of tree coverage in the latter category is unclear" (Ibid, 29).
Hannigan and Nolan in Wicklow: History and Society indicate that the county's cartographic heritage, prior to the first ordnance survey, is not particularly revealing on woodland. A 1707 map by Nevill shows there was an extensive woodland near Arklow. A Carysfort estate map of townlands near Arklow shows 500 plantation acres of woodland in 1726 or approximately 5 per cent of the area.
Old coppice woods could be found near Rathdrum. South of the area was Ballygannon with approximately 33 per cent woodland cover. The Taylor and Skinner maps of the roads between Wicklow and Arklow around 1777 show extensive woodlands in the valleys of the Avonmore, Avonbeg and Avoca rivers. The Meath estate maps show that the Rathdrum area appears to have retained extensive woodland into the nineteenth century.
"Reports, surveys and tourist guides supplement our knowledge of woodland nature, distribution and use in Wicklow during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The Malton estate had coppices in the early 1700's at Rathdrum. The surveys indicate that the coppices were composed of oak with some birch, hazel and ash. Apart from the pure oak stands, there appear to have been three other stand mixtures. On the valley floors and lower slopes there were birch-hazel-oak woods. Hazel were absent at higher levels. On the free-draining steep slopes, there were ash-hazel-oak woods such as at the Avonmore valley, south of Rathdrum. Alder and sally were locally important on wet ground. The estate of forests in Wicklow at this time were important sources in providing underwood, bark, and timber from large trees whose by-products were used in ship building, tanning, charcoal production and building projects" (Ibid, 29).
"Wicklow's timber resources were apparently adequate to supply a variety of industries in the eighteenth century and well into the first half of the nineteenth century. The planting and management of woodlands were undertaken in many parts of the county. The general availability of turf for fuel may have alleviated tenants' timber requirements. The best woodland in eighteenth century Wicklow was found to be found in the east, especially in the valleys of the Avonmore, Avonbeg and Avoca rivers; these provided revenue for the many large estates in the area. East Wicklow's valleys were incorporated into the landscaping of the demesnes. Soils in the east of the county tend to be more fertile than their counterparts in similar locations in the west and this was an added bonus for settlers. Many new trees species were introduced to the country at this time. Hayes in 1794 commented on fine mature exotic trees, some of which must have been planted in the preceding century. There were very large sycamores in Shillelagh, Rathdrum and Kilmacurra" (Ibid).
"From references to woods during the seventeenth century, there was sufficient woodland in Wicklow at the beginning of the century to support the expansion of timber-consuming industries. In 1654 there was an organised forestry department in the county with staff consisting of a wood reeve earning £100 a year, four assistants and a clerk with annual salaries of £26 d £20, respectively. The names on the Hearth Money Rolls of 1669 may suggest that imported, skilled forest labour was used. Charcoal was exported from the county to south Wales in the early 1600s. A network of over fifty iron works was established in Wicklow around 1640 by an Englishman called Bacon which utilised the availability of woodland to supply the iron works" (Ibid).
"Travellers who toured Ireland in the eighteenth century reveal great detail about the places in which they passed through. Arthur Young wrote of the Vale of Arklow that "the extent of the woods induced me to imagine I was in the midst of one of those immense forests seen only on the continent". Another notable traveller was Hayes who in 1794 described Shelton as "the
seat of Lord Viscount Wicklow, also finely wooded. It was to Shelton that the first beech was taken into Ireland. Trees were propagated from their mast and distributed to other parts of the country" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 58).
Wright also commented on Shelton woods "which now consist chiefly of oak trees which from their too great closeness have all run to a height of about 40 feet bearing no foliage but scanty toppings at the top" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 59).
"In 1801 Frazer's Statistical Survey of county Wicklow recorded that the woods in the county were principally coppices which are usually cut at thirty years growth. However, most of the woods belonged to absentee landlords and as a result were generally neglected until they reached felling age. Frazer estimated that the actual loss suffered by the mismanagement of the woods of non-residents in the county for the previous ninety years-assuming the woods to amount to only 2,500 acres was £1.063,750. He further noted that before 1798 planting was going on rapidly in the county and a number of candidates had applied for the tree premiums of the Dublin Society. A report under the direction of the Royal Dublin Society by Thomas Radcliff in 1812 indicated the presence of woodland at Arklow by mapping. In the first half of the nineteenth century the woodland was considered to be in a good state in the eastern part of the county. The first edition Ordnance Survey map gives the most accurate estimate of woodland distribution at the beginning of that century. The largest expanse of woodland was in the Arklow area especially around Glenart Castle and Shelton Abbey. There had been little change in forest cover in this area since 1726 survey. Extensive woodland was also located in the Avonmore valley at Glenwealy, the Devil's Glen and the Enniskerry area. The west of the county had only small pockets of woodland. Pure conifer plantations were concentrated here, because there was probably a need to establish forests due to the relative scarcity of substantial tree cover" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 60).
"A significant change occurred in the species composition of the woods around then. The majority were no longer pure deciduous woods because of the practice of using conifers as a nurse crop for the hardwoods. On the later O.S. map many of these mixed woods were marked as deciduous woods, presumably because the conifers had been felled. A rough estimate of tree cover in 1839 was 2.5 per cent. The second edition O.S. map at the end of the nineteenth century shows little change in woodland cover (2.6 per cent), apart from conifer expansion into the uplands of west Wicklow" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 62).
1841, 3.5 per cent of county Wicklow was covered with plantations.
Wicklow was estimated to have 17,644 acres of woodland in 1902.
The collapse of the landlord system forced the state to assume
responsibility for the production of timber. However, before 1922
only 1,200 acres were planted. A forestry school was established
at Avondale, the former house of Samuel Hayes and, later, Charles
Parnell. Many of the first forests in the country were planted
in Wicklow. The afforestation of valleys with conifers began after
1920" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 63). The afforestation of
county Wicklow with conifers accelerated from the 1950s to give
us the present tree cover of just under 18 per cent (Hannigan
and Nolan 1994, 64).
In the seventeenth century, Wicklow's population was invariably a rural in character: only 15 per cent lived in agglomerations of more than twenty houses with Ballinacor North barony containing 12 per cent at 1232 inhabitants (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 65). Rathdrum was the only settlement other than Wicklow which had a population over 1,000 people. The matter of ownership in the county was settled by 1700. Local elites were ruthlessly dispossessed and the O' Byrnes and to a lesser extent the O' Tooles were ousted. Wicklow was banded into tight administrative units of estate, civil parish and county through landlordism (Ibid).
The Howard connection with Wicklow was established in 1697 when John Howard, president of the college of Physicians in Ireland, acquired the estate of North Arklow from the duke of Ormonde. By 1830 the property comprised all of the parish of Kilbride, part of the parish of Castlemacadam which included the village of Avoca, and a northern arc based on Wicklow's newest planned town at Red cross. The Howard's, now enobled with the title of Earls of Wicklow, had augmented their lands by major purchases in the former Percy estate in Glen Imail (Ibid).
"Some Wicklow estates were in the size range from five to ten thousand acres in 1838. These included Moore of Kilbride and Kippure, Synge of Roundwood and Glanmore, Kemmis of Ballinacor, Brady of Kilboy, Whaley of Bahana, Hutchinson of Coolmoney and Acton of West Acton. Kemmis of Ballinacor House was enshrouded in demesne and included the buried remnants of the older O' Byrne's of Wicklow. By the late seventeenth century the fine mansion house was being built on a north-facing site which commanded the route from Wicklow inland to Rathdrum. Ordnance field surveyors noted a tree nursery, deerpark and the three storey residence with extensive out-offices to the west" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 65).
early account of the parish of Rathdrum is gained from Samuel
Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland during his travels
in the early nineteenth century:
"Rathdrum, a market and post town and a parish partly in the barony of Ballinacor, county of Wicklow and province of Leinster, 8 miles south-west from Wicklow; and 29 miles south-west from Dublin; contains 2688 inhabitants of which 1054 are in the town. This place which is set on the mail road from Dublin to Arklow, derives its name of Rathdrum, "The fort on the Hill" from its position on a lofty and commanding eminence, from the fortified residence of the ancient chieftain of the territory in the north-east of the county, then known by the name of Crioc-Cnolan. It was subsequently held by the Byrnes but in 1595 was wrested from Pheagh Mac Hugh Byrne, the most active chieftain of these parts in his time by Sir William Fitzwilliams, Lord-Deputy, the ancestor of the present Earl Fitzwilliam who is proprietor of the large estate in the county.
The town, set on the height to the west of Avonmore, is small but neat, the houses well built and generally white-washed with a few of superior appearance among which the glebe-house, with its sloping lawn and tastefully disposed shrubbery's, adding to the general appearance. The manufacture of flannel was carried on here to such an extent that the Irish government deemed it necessary to appoint a seller of flannels to superintend it, under whom were a deputy and 8 sworn meters who resided in the town.
A flannel hall was erected in 1793 at an expense of £3500 by the late Earl Fitzwilliam who received a toll of 2d. on every piece of 120 yards, which provided an annual average of £300 per annum; the trade continued to flourish so long as the protective duties on Irish woollens were maintained but on their repeal it declined rapidly and is now nearly extinct: the few pieces at present made are purchases by the shopkeepers in the town. The arms in the market house, which form a spacious square and above the principal entrance of which is an escutcheon of Earl Fitzwilliam arms, are now used for a court house, a Roman Catholic chapel and schools. The manufacture of woollen cloth and flour here but owing to the same causes as declined within last twelve years and is now extinct.
There are two breweries in the town. The market is held each Thursday and a monthly market in addition. Fairs are held in Rathdrum on last Thursday in February, May and August and April 5th, July 5th, October 10th and December 11th. The parish contains 33,863 acres as applotted under the Tithe Act and is subdivided into the constablewicks of Ballinacor, Ballykine, Knockrath and Rathdrum and comprising the villages of Aghrim, Ballinaclash, Ballinderry, Cappagh, Clare, Greenan, Moycreddin or Carysfort and Sheanna.
Centrally situated among grandest and most picturesque scenery of the county. At its southern extremity is the confluence of rivers Avonmore and Avonbeg, known by poet Moore as "The Meeting of the Waters"; north of the town the course of the Avonmore is though the vale of Clara to the seven churches and more west, the Avonbeg passes through the rugged and precipitous valley of Glenmalure. The western part of the parish is occupied by mountains, topped by the summit of Lugnaguilla at a height of 3,050 feet. The lead mine of Ballyfinchogue circa 1 mile from the barrack at Ballinacor which has been lately purchased for a residence for the workmen, is now wrought by the Royal Irish Mining Company. Excellent buildings of stone are in great abundance. Arable lands amount to 5,484 statute acres are chiefly under tillage, principally crop oats. Ballinacor, residence of William Kemmis, junior, Esq., surrounded by extensive plantations and commanding fine views of the glen of Glenmalure" (Lewis 1837, 56).
"In the north-west part of the parish of Rathdrum, Ballinacor Barony, Wicklow County, two miles north-west of Rathdrum, the principal market town bounded by Ballydowlan to the north; north-east by Copse; south-east by Ballygannon and west by Upper Ballinderry townlands. The property of the Earl of Fitzwilliam. The land contains 231 acres, 1 rood, 11 perches; of which 30 acres are furze; leases are for 21 years; rents 16/ per Irish acre. The Tithe Composition Book shows 33 holdings in the two townlands upper and lower viz. £7, 21, 14, 12, 9 and under 5 Irish acres. Yearly tithe £11 10s. 6d. Shape irregular, greatest length from east to west is one and one eight of a mile; the road to Rathdrum bounds it on the south; "Sauls Fort" is in the centre; there is a corn mill in the west" (O' Donovan 1838-40, 287).
"The lands of Ballygannon belonged to the Priory of All Hallows, Dublin which was a priory of Aroasian Canons. It may be presumed that these lands, with the churches of Rathdrum, Ballykine and Macreddin, were included in the grant of the possessions of the monastery of St. Saviour, Glendalough which was made to the Priory by Archbishop Henry de Lourdes between 1216 and 1228. We can therefore say that this name is not older than the thirteenth century.
The Grand Jury Presentments show that most of the present townland of Rathdrum was regarded as part of Ballygannon as late as 1832" (Price1980, 10).
There are a number of fine houses in the district including Prospect House to the south-west; Ballyteige House to the south-west; Copse House to the north; Stump House to the north-east; Avonbank House to the east and Avonpark House to the south. No information pertaining to the houses was gained during the search.
Folklore Archive Collection, UCD
The following references refer to excerpts from the Irish Folklore Commission held within the Department of Irish Folklore. These include two main archival sources: (i) Irish Manuscript Collection (IFC.M) and (ii) Irish Schools Collection (IFC.S). The excerpts refer to accounts by locals of popular belief, customs, local place names and incidents that occurred in the parish as follows:
"There is a cave where a battle was supposed to have been fought. Part of the Army stayed in the cave. While they were there a snow storm occurred and it lasted for a whole week. Snow filled in much of the cave and they couldn't find their way out and died there".
"Grandfather James Cullen was at the battle of Newtown and made his escape to a place in the river at Ballard. He was getting on so he hid in a hole under a holly tree at this spot while the battle continued on around him. Many years later at the same time he suffered a chill and died".
"There is said to be a Mass Path at Ballygannon".
2.16.3 Field Inspection
126.96.36.199 Ballygannon is one of the larger sites, measuring 56 hectares. This was one of the more picturesque sites (Plate 59) consisting of both mature, nicely spaced conifers (Plate 60) and some clear cut areas. The clear cut areas had clearly been mixed as a number of large deciduous trees remain (Plate 61). Most of the study area was thus accessible. No archaeological sites were identified. No vernacular buildings or field walls were located.
At the north-eastern end of the site, the ground slopes sharply down to the banks of the Avonmore River (Plate 62). This would be the typical location for the presence of find fulacht fiadh but the dense undergrowth along the rivers edge (Plate 63) meant proper survey could not be undertaken.
within the area recently clearfelled is a well marked "Mass
Path" (Plate 64) of unknown date which extends outside the
188.8.131.52 New Sites
There were no new archaeological sites identified as part of the forest survey.
2.16.4 Desk Study
The Recorded Monuments (Figure 61)
The Sites and Monuments record (SMR) of Dúchas-The Heritage Service, Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands refers to the following sites within and in the environs of Ballygannon, County Wicklow.
From the 6" Ordnance Survey maps, a list of the archaeological sites and their proximity to the woodland site was compiled.
SMR No. Distance to Ballygannon Woodland Site Type
WI030:005 1000m NE Castle
WI030:006 640m E Enclosure Site
WI030:010 700m SE Ringfort (Rath/Cashel)
WI030:004 450m NW Ringfort (rath/Cashel)
WI030:029 1720m NW Bullaun Stone
WI030:001 1520m NW Ringfort (Rath/Cashel)
There are no recorded archaeological sites within Ballygannon Woodland.
Within the environs of Ballygannon Woodland the following SMR sites are recorded:
Townland Stump of Castle
Site Type Castle
6" Co-Ordinates E38.40cm N44.66cm
Height O.D. c.500' (149m)
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition (1839) and 3rd edition (1910) Ordnance Survey maps.
References "Castle (in ruins), remains of castle and square earthen fortifications" (Reynolds 1973, 47).
"Stump of the Castle; this name must be of extreme antiquity. It is most ridiculous no doubt and a demonstration of how late townlands have been named. In the townland of Stump of the Castle, near Mr. J. Sutton's house, only a small part of this castle is visible" (O' Donovan 1838, 335).
"Small portions of the ruins of an old castle remain in the townland of Stump of the Castle, which is a subdivision of Ballinakill. These ruins consist of one round tower which appears to have stood on the south-west angle of the castle; about 24 feet in height, 4.50 feet in diameter. The wall is 2 feet 10 inches thick at 6 feet from the ground and 1 foot 9 inches thick within 3 feet of the top, where there is a little window in the south side 2 feet 1 inch high and 9.50 inches wide inside, 1 foot 10 inches high and 5.50 inches wide outside, covered with one little stone. There is another square
loophole 4.50 feet from the ground on the south-east side. The tower is closed in at the height of 8 feet by flags projecting from the walls to the centre where the covering is finished by one flag which covers the points of all the rest. The north side has a breach in it reaching from the top to within 8 feet of the ground. It communicated with the castle by a low narrow door in the interior. There were four of these towers at the four angles of the castle; a bit of the north-west one remains and the places of the other two. These towers appear to have been 44 feet asunder, which may be set down as the extent of the side of the castle. The castle appears to have been built in the south-east angle of a square fort, 56 yards each way, round which, on the south, west and north sides was a deep wide fosse and mound of great depth, breadth and height. There is no remembrance whatsoever to whom this castle belonged" (Ibid, 121-122).
to the document of 1781 the chapelry of Kilcommon contained the
following townlands, viz. Stump of Castle. There are several ancient
raths on the adjoining townlands; two on Glassanaraget, one on
Cullen's land to the south, one on Manning's land to the north,
one on Ballece and one on Ballinakill on Sutton's land. At Stump
of Castle there are considerable ruins of the old castle; a round
tower at south-west angle, 24 feet high and 4.50 feet in diameter,
the wall 2 feet 10 inches thick at 6 feet from the ground and
1 foot 9 inches thick within 3 feet of the top. Four of these
towers stood at the four angles of the castle about 44 feet apart.
The square fort measures 56 yards" (Ronan 1928, 152).
"1760 Stump of the Castle North (with the sign for a castle). O' Curry describes the townland as a subdivision of Ballinakill, and the Name Book has "Stump of the Castle or Boleynakill". This was Kilcommon Castle" (Price 1967, 430).
"A stronghold existed at Kilcommon called 'Stump of the Castle' built by William Lawless. The remains of a large moated site 40 metres square survive with a moat 3 metres in width. The moat is missing on the south-east side but a large external bank 3.2 metres in height is evident on the north-west side. The site has been much disturbed by the building of roads and a farm-house. There are also remains of a castle on the south-east side of the site butonly one small tower survives. It was originally one of four which were still traceable on the ground in 1839. Kilcommon was abandoned soon after Lawless's death in 1350. The remaining castle may date to 1581 when a garrison was placed there during the wars with Feagh McHugh O' Byrne" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 54).
Area of Interest 100m
Distance 1000m NE
Site Type Enclosure Site
6" Co-Ordinates E39.86cm N33.82cm
Height O.D. 433' (129m)
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1839) but not on the 3rd edition Ordnance Survey map (1910). The site is located on a gentle south-east facing slope. There is no visible trace of the monument.
References "There are two ancient raths on the townland of Glassnarget, one on Cullen's lands south of the road and the other on the lands of Mr. Manning on the north" (O' Donovan 1838-40, 121).
Glassinaraget N.; Glas an airgid, "Stream of the silver";
clasach, "ditch", was perhaps an alternative form of
the name. There are several streams here, as well as narrow gullies
or hollows running down to the Avonmore River. There is a rath
in Glasnarget North which is in the barony of Newcastle; Glasnarget
South in the barony of Arklow" (Price 1967, 430).
Area of Interest 30m
Distance 640m E
Townland Glasnarget South
Site Type Ringfort (Rath/Cashel)
6" Co-Ordinates E37.92cm N26.72cm
Height O.D. c.400' (119m)
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1839) and on the 3rd edition Ordnance Survey map (1908).
The enclosure is situated on level to gently sloping, south facing ground in gently undulating terrain. It is in good condition apart from missing the south eastern portion. About two thirds of a circular enclosure defined by an earthen bank with an external ditch well defined on north-west side. The bank is between 4.70m (NE) and 6.60m (NW) wide but averages c.6m; it is 0.90m (SW) to 2.50m (NE) in height above the outer ground level. On the NNE side there is a low internal revetment two course high with a boulder edging at the outer foot of the bank. There is no trace of the bank continuing on the south to south-east side. The ditch is a substantial feature on the north-west side and fades towards
south-west side. There is no trace of it beyond the adjoining
field boundary on the north-west side nor on the south side. On
the north-east side, the ditch is 3.50m wide and 0.60m deep below
the outer ground level. The interior is level and featureless
and there is no trace of an entrance in the surviving portion.
Diameter 43.50m (NE-SW).
References O' Donovan J. 1838-40 Ordnance Survey Letters p.121, 375
"There are two ancient raths on the townland of Glasnarget, one on Cullen's lands, south of the road ".
Area of Interest 30m
Distance 700m SE
Townland Ballinderry Lower
Barony Ballinacor North
Site Type Ringfort (Rath/Cashel)
6" Co-Ordinates E14.62cm N38.79cm
Height O.D. c.620' (185m)
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1838-1839) but not on the 3rd edition Ordnance Survey map (1910).
The site is situated on a very gentle east facing slope. It is visible in outline. The site is circular measuring 32m in diameter defined by very slight line indicating the location of a bank. This is c.7m wide and is 0.50m in average height above the surrounding ground level. At the southern edge there is a 3m long segment marked by dark soil which could represent the location of the entrance. No trace of a ditch.
References 'Sauls Fort'; Saul, the custom of the country. In the central part of Lower Ballinderry Townland in Rathdrum parish, a small ancient mound or fort" (O' Donovan 1838-40, 297).
"The antiquities are St. Kevin's cup, in the south Sauls Fort and two ancient raths in north of the parish, there is a small monument in the vicinity of the meeting of the waters; it was erected in the year 1819" (Ibid, 283).
Area of Interest 30m
Distance 450m NW
Townland Ballyhad Upper
Barony Ballinacor North
Site Type Bullaun Stone
Height O.D. Not Indicated
Description Situated immediately north-east of the summit of a low hill with marked downhill slope to the north. The site is in good condition. The feature is a granite earthfast boulder. The exposed surface measures 1m by 0.90m. There are two closely spaced basins one measuring 0.30m by 0.25m and 0.08m deep. It has a rounded V-shaped section. The second measures 0.35m by 0.30m and is 0.14m deep with near vertical sides. It was located by Mr. Seamus Byrne, Ballyhad Upper.
References "12. Ballyhad, Rathdrum parish. A flat boulder with two basins, on top of the hill south of Clara bridge, half a mile from the boundary of Knockrath parish" (Price 1959, 14).
Area of Interest 10m
Distance 1720m NW
Townland Ballyhad Upper
Barony Ballinacor North
Site Type Ringfort (Rath/Cashel)
Height O.D. c.680' (203m)
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition (1839) and the 3rd edition (1910) Ordnance Survey maps.
An oval enclosure 32m north-south by 29.70m east-west defined by earth and stone bank and external ditch. No indications of an entrance or internal features. Natural hollow on gentle south-east facing slope. The site has been recently planted with conifers. On the south side, where the area outside the site is low-lying and marshy, the ditch is more clearly defined. Pieces of iron slag were visible in the bank material. No internal features or obvious entrance. Interior slopes gently down from north to south.
References "Ballyhad townland: Baile Fada meaning "long town". In the northern part of Rathdrum parish, Ballinacor Barony, Wicklow County, 2.5 miles north by west of Rathdrum, the principal market town, bounded on the north by the parish of Knockrath; east by Lower Ballyhad; south by Lower Ballyhad and Ballydowlan. The property of the Earl of Meath, containing 209 acres, two perches of which 70.50 acres are furze. Leases are for ever. Rents 20/-per Irish acre. The Tithe Composite Book shows ten holdings viz. from 2.5 to 35 Irish acres. Yearly tithes £6 1s. 11d. Shape: oblong lying north and south; greatest length-three fourths of a mile; the river Avonmore bounds it on the north; a road bounds it on the west; houses few. Clara Bridge is on the north-west and there is an ancient rath in the south-west" (O' Donovan 1838-40, 285).
Area of Interest 30m
Distance 1520m NW
184.108.40.206 The desk study revealed no recorded archaeological sites within Ballygannon forest and six known archaeological sites within the surrounding townlands.
The Topographical Files of the National Museum of Ireland were examined in which all stray finds are provenanced to townland. The following is a list of the townlands within and in the environs of Ballygannon forest.
Proximity to Forest
Ballygannon Within and Adjacent to South
Rathdrum Adjacent to South and South East
Glasnarget To East
Ballinderry Lower Adjacent to North-West
Ballinderry Upper Adjacent to West
Tanseyclose To South-West
Stump of the Castle Adjacent to North
Ballyhad Lower To North-East
Copse Adjacent to North-West
There is one stray find recorded from the townland of Ballygannon in which the forest is located. This comprised an iron bell described below.
There are no stray finds recorded from other adjacent and surrounding townlands in the vicinity of Ballygannon forest site.
Barony Ballinacor North
6" Co-Ordinates Not Indicated
Registration No. 1933:240
Find(s) Iron Bell
Acquisition Presented by Mr. D. O' Dubhg Sill, 10 Gartan Avenue, Dublin
Description The bell is a cattle bell and of no antiquarian value.
The scale of works planned for this site will involve both clearfelling and planting. Both of these processes are inherently destructive with ground disturbances associated with the use of heavy machinery (for tree removal) and preparation of the land for planting (with the excavation of drainage ditches).
While the areas to be affected have been surveyed in an attempt at locating and identifying previously unknown archaeological sites, no new sites were revealed. However, it must be borne in mind that archaeological remains with little above ground surface expression may survive below the ground surface. Such features would only be revealed during earthmoving and ground preparation works where such archaeological sites would be directly compromised by these subsequent works. Please see the mitigations and recommendation section in volume 1 for suggested mitigations.
*Please note that it was not possible to reproduce figures for inclusion on the website version of the reports.