Draft Archaeological Report (DAR) Section 1 Process and Methodology

(DAR) Section 1 Process and Methodology (Download Section 1: Process and Methodology)



This framework document was carried out in two stages:

Stage 1: the information gathering stage included an examination of published and unpublished documentary and cartographic sources and numerous site inspections. Documentary Research has been carried out in the following repositories:
 National Library
 National Archives – Royal Irish Academy
 Irish Architectural Archive
 Trinity College Map Library
 Kilkenny City Town Hall
 Archaeological Survey of Ireland
 National Museum of Ireland
 Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, storage facility Swords, Dublin
 OPW photographic archive

The information gathering process was complemented by consultations and attendance at a work shop over two days in relation to the revisioning of the Masterplan. Structured meetings and informal discussions with a number of stakeholders and interested groups expanded the consultation process*.

Stage 2: the review stage, sought to establish the chronological development of the plan area and the significant phases of building.

This stage also sought to provide an understanding of the significance of the plan area from an archaeological and historical view point. In order to safeguard and protect the above ground structures and below ground features this report also sought to develop a risk assessment strategy based on the available archaeological and historical information to date on and in the environs of the plan area.

*Included the following individuals and organisations: Kilkenny County Council, The National Museum of Ireland, The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, OPW, The Heritage Council, DIAGEO, Arup Consulting Engineers, CONSARC, Reddy Architecture, Mitchell Associates, David Sweetman, Margaret Gowen, Shaffrey Associates Architects, Joseph Mac Mahon, David Sweetman, Edel Bhreathnach, Liam Mannix, Cóilín Ó’Drisceoil, Gill McLoughlin, Mark Moraghan, Brenda O’Meara, Catherine McGloughlin, Rob Goodbody, Stephen Johnson and Colm Flynn.


1.2.1 Historic Sources

The city of Kilkenny has been more than fortunate in the number and importance of its early records, it has a wealth of primary medieval and secondary historical records which is unusual for Ireland. This tradition of recording and archiving extends to modern day through the Journal Royal Society of Antiquities of Ireland (JRSAI) (originally founded as the Kilkenny Archaeological Society) and the Old Kilkenny Review (OKR). Material in the Kilkenny County Council Archives, includes the original Charter of Kilkenny dating to the 11th of April 1609 from King James I where upon he raised the dignity of Kilkenny to city status. Although Kilkenny was a city it did have two separate corporations ruling over separate jurisdictions, Hightown and Irishtown, evidence for feuds and disputes between these neighbouring seats are common place in the records. For the purpose of this project the Corporation records detailing the administration and various leases of Hightown and Irishtown were reviewed.

The Liber Primus Kilkenniensis is the first minute book of the Corporation and contains the proceedings of the municipal body from 1231 to 1586, it is Kilkenny’s most ancient record. A second book known as the Liber Secondus dating to 1544-1572 is now missing.

Plate 3 The Liber Primus Kilkennienis

In 1988, Honora Faul* organised the Corporation’s Charters and minutes and so they are accessible to researchers, the documents have been arranged in sections according to either document type or subject matter. Within each section, items are in chronological order. All documents are referenced with CR and then a letter describes the type of document for example A; relates to charters, B; grants and C; leases etc. The minutes provide an invaluable source of everyday life in Kilkenny during that time. While evidence relating to St Francis’ Abbey was scant, a number of references were revealed and are detailed in Appendix A. The references date from 1544 and mostly pertain to different land leases and a grant from King Henry VIII describes the Grey Friary as consisting of a church, belfry, dormitory hall, chapter house, three chambers, kitchen, ‘Garnen’ house with three cellars, an enclosure, gardens, lands, tenements, orchards etc**.

A Concise History of the Corporation of Kilkenny with Catalogues of its Ancient Charters, Grants and Minute Books 1873. The following extract shows to whom the lands (now known as the Masterplan lands) were leased to, the area involved and the rents incurred.

*Faul, Honora (1988) [Catalogue of Corporation Archives] typescript A Charters (1608-1862); B Grants (1244-1596; C Copies and Translations (1223-1690); D Corporation Minute Books (1231-1952); E Urban Sanitary Authority Records (1875-1945); F Corporation of Irishtown (1544-1834); G Tithe Applottment Books (1826-33); H Other Bound Records (C16-C20); I Leases (1511-1792); J Accounts, etc (1577-1733); K Documents (1547- 1768); L Parish of Skeirke (1804-1920); M Market (1962-8); N Photographs (1893); O Former catalogues (1878-1952)

**In 1544 a Grant of King Henry VIII of the Black and Grey Friaries and their possessions to the Soveraigne, Burgesses and Commons of Kilkenny (CR/C9).

The subsequent 18th and 19th century and later descriptions of St Francis’ Abbey are provided by antiquarians such as Ledwich (1781), Grose (1794), Graves & Prim (1859), Hogan (1859 and 1861), Bassett (1884) and Leask (1914) and are detailed in Section II and V of the report.

1.2.2 Conservation Sources

The Kilkenny Archaeological Society were pioneers when it came to restoring and conserving monuments of antiquity, as early as 1867 there is mention of raising funds and providing stabilisation measures at St Francis’ Abbey. Proceedings from the Journal of the Kilkenny and South-East of Ireland Archaeological Society* reveal the concern for the monument and their efforts are charted throughout the following proceedings. Bassett** records that the ruins of St Francis’ Abbey were in an ‘excellent state of preservation, thanks to the Kilkenny Archaeological Society, which interposed in time to save the tower from falling’.

Historically, the conservation works, in the form of a concrete supporting structure under the arch of the bell tower of St Francis’ Abbey as well as two cast iron pillars are important interventions as they are some of the earliest uses of these materials for conservation practices.

*(Vol.6, No.1, 1867)

**Bassett, G. (1884) Kilkenny City and County Guide and Directory. Dublin

Plate 5 Eastern Elevation of Tower 1926

Plate 6 Eastern Elevation of Tower 1928

Conservation works have already occurred on site as part of the River Nore Flood Alleviation Scheme*, in particular work was carried out at Evan’s Tower, City Wall and at the Tea House on Bateman Quay. Copies of rectified surveys were accessed from Consarc and archaeological consultant, Margaret Gowen.

The Heritage Council in 2005, published the Kilkenny City Walls Conservation Plan, which provides for a conservation strategy of each section of the City Wall and associated defences and the presentation of the circuit**.

*Gowen et al 2003, Archaeological Archive for the River Nore Flood Alleviation Scheme.

**Oxford Archaeology 2005 Kilkenny City Walls Conservation Plan, The Heritage Council.

1.2.3 Archaeological Sources

The Urban Archaeological Survey of Kilkenny* is an invaluable inventory of all archaeological sites within Kilkenny. The Kilkenny Archaeological Project builds upon all existing sources and captures them within an impressive GIS environment, securing all elements for future reference**. The Irish Historic Towns Atlas***, focuses on the development of Kilkenny through mapping, and references referring to the study area are presented in Appendix B, as does the study by Thomas on the Walled Towns of Ireland**** which provides a gazetteer of Irish town walls.

Plate 7 Detail of stone work 1952

Plate 8 Stone masons at work St Francis’ Abbey

Archaeological excavation was carried out at the site to determine the extent of the Abbey’s below ground remains by Marcus Ó hEochaidhe in 1963 and monitoring by David Sweetman occurred in the early 1970’s. Mid-excavation photographs and site notes have been recovered for the archaeological excavation and monitoring works from the OPW and DAHG archives.

Since then, small scale investigation in the form of test trenching and archaeological monitoring has continued on an intermittent basis over forty years in and around the Masterplan area and these investigations are summarised in the Excavation Bulletin (www.excavations.ie). Where possible, consultation with archaeologists who have worked in and around the Masterplan area was carried out as part of the project’s scope.

*OPW, 1993, The Urban Archaeological Survey of Kilkenny compiled by J.Farrelly, B. O’Reilly and A. Loughran for the Archaeological Survey of Ireland

**O’Drisceoil C., et al 2008 The Kilkenny Archaeological Project (KKAP) Report for the Irish National Strategic Archaeological Research (INSTAR). Heritage Council

***Bradley 2000 Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no 10 Kilkenny. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy

****Thomas, A 1992 The Walled Towns of Ireland, 2 Vols. Dublin

1.2.4 Cartographic Sources

Historical mapping for the site prior to the establishment of the Ordnance Survey is limited, comprising mainly the Down Survey Maps (1655), Rocque (1758), Loughman’s estate map (c. 1750?) and Hogan (1861). Mapping sources are reviewed in Section II of the report.

Subsequent Ordnance Survey mapping recorded in the report includes the 1840 and 1870 six inch editions and later twenty five inch editions. The OPW plan of St Francis’ Abbey (1966) was reviewed along with sketches of later monitoring work undertaken by Sweetman in the 1970’s. Drainage and the sewer plan maps held by Kilkenny County Council were also reviewed for the area.

1.2.5 Photographic Collections

The photographic archive of the OPW was accessed to gain photographs of the excavations that took place in the 1960 and 1970s. In addition to these a number of photographs dating from the 1920-1950s of the site were also discovered. Drawings and illustrations were reviewed at the Irish Architectural Archive and from various antiquarian publications. The Stalley Collection and Edwin Rae Collection are also listed on Gothic Past, a visual archive of Gothic architecture and sculpture in Ireland.

Plate 9 The Edwin Rae Collection, architectural drawing,sedila in the choir, St Francis’ Friary, www.gothicpast.com

Plate 10, The Stalley Collection, Bell capital with dogtooth on (damaged) abacus and head carvings to left and right of shaft, www.gothicpast.com

1.2.6 The National Museum of Ireland - Artefacts

Fourteen boxes of conserved material from investigations that had been undertaken at St Francis’ Abbey, were recovered from the National Museum of Ireland’s Collections Resource Centre at Swords

Three boxes were listed as being from the investigations that Sweetman undertook on site:
 SCRC.A1.C3.R9.P14.S5 E0096 St. Francis’ Friary, Kilkenny Pottery, Tiles
 SCRC.A1.C3.R10.P1.S1 E0096 St. Francis’ Friary, Kilkenny Pottery, Whole Vessels
 SCRC.A1.C3.R10.P1.S1 E0096 St. Francis’ Friary, Kilkenny Floor tiles

A further twelve boxes containing floor tiles, medieval pottery and modern pottery were reviewed and photographed. These finds had been sorted and prefaced with the No. 4 and then the find number. No metal finds were retrieved and only one loose vertebra (possible human) with no identification tag was noted within these finds, no further skeletal remains were uncovered.

Plate 11: A sample 17th century pottery

Plate 12: E0096 Reconstructed Pots

Plate 13: A sample of the floor tiles

1.2.7 Site and photographic survey
In addition to the desk based assessment, physical research included specialised surveys, multidisciplinary team visits to the Masterplan Area and a review of existing interventions and conservation work, see Section IV of the report.


The conclusions and recommendations within the report are placed within an existing framework of statutory legislation, policy plans, Charters, guidance documents which are listed below:
National Monuments Act, 1930, as amended in 1954, 1987, 1994, 2004 and 2012

Heritage Act, 1995
The Architectural Heritage (National Inventory) and Historic Monuments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1999
Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 2000 (as amended)
Kilkenny County Council Development Plan 2014-2020
Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe (Granada) 1985, ratified by Ireland in 1991
Council of Europe European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Valletta) 1992, ratified by Ireland in 1997
The Burra Charter, the Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance 1999
The Ename Charter, the charter for the interpretation and presentation of cultural heritage sites, 2007, ICOMOS, Abdijstraat
ICOMOS Xi’an Declaration on the Conservation of the Setting of Heritage Structures, Sites and Areas. Paris: International Council on Monuments and Sites, 2005
Framework and Principles for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (1999) (DAHGI)
Policy and Guidelines on Archaeological Excavation (1999) (DAHGI)
Architectural Heritage Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2011) (DAHG)

The importance of protecting the setting of heritage assets is recognised by a number of international conventions and instruments. The ‘Valletta and Granada’ Council of Europe conventions place legal obligations on Member States in relation to the recording, conservation and management of archaeological and built heritage. In essence these conventions prescribe that heritage is conserved and maintained preferably in-situ and that archaeological and architectural heritage concerns are integrated into the planning and development process. In Ireland these conventions are given effect through the National Monuments Acts 1930-2012 and the Planning and Development Act 2000 and its amendments.

The Granada Convention requires that ‘In the surroundings of monuments, within groups of buildings and within sites, each Party undertakes to promote measures for the general enhancement of the environment’.

The 1988 ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of places of Cultural Significance, the Burra Charter, sets down the principles for assessing the cultural significance of an historic site. This charter defines cultural significance as ‘the aesthetic, historic, scientific or social values for past, present or future generations’.

According to the Ename Charter (2007) interpretation refers to the full range of potential activities intended to heighten public awareness and enhance understanding of cultural heritage sites. These can include print and electronic publications, public lectures, on-site and directly related off-site installations, educational programmes, community activities, and ongoing research, training, and evaluation of the interpretation process itself.

Presentation more specifically denotes the carefully planned communication of interpretive content through the arrangement of interpretive information, physical access, and interpretive infrastructure at a cultural heritage site. It can be conveyed through a variety of technical means, including, yet not requiring, such elements as informational panels, museum-type displays, formalized walking tours, lectures and guided tours, and multimedia applications and websites.

The X’ian Declaration on the Conservation of the Setting of Heritage Structures, Sites and Areas (ICOMOS 2005) is the only international instrument dedicated to setting.
The National Monument Act, 1930 and subsequent amendments provide the formal legal mechanisms to protect monuments in Ireland. There are four mechanisms by which a monument is protected under the Acts; these are:
• The Record of Monuments and Places (RMP)
• The Register of Historic Monuments (RHM)
• Preservation Order (PO) or Temporary Preservation Order (TPO)
• National Monuments (NM) either in the care (ownership or guardianship) of the State or a local authority
All known sites and monuments in Ireland are identified and listed for protection in the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP). This is a statutory inventory of sites protected under the National Monuments Acts.

The prior written consent of the Minister is required for any works at or in proximity to a National Monument in the ownership or guardianship of the State, the Minister or a local authority, or those which are subject to a Preservation Order.
Protected Structures
A protected structure is a structure that is considered to be of ‘special interest’, which is broadly defined by the Planning and Development Act, 2000 as structures of architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical point interest. The 2000 Act requires each planning authority to compile and maintain a Record of Protected Structures (RPS). The RPS is a mechanism for the statutory protection of the architectural heritage and is listed in every County Development Plan and Town Development Plan.

By definition, a protected structure includes the land lying within its curtilage and other structures within that curtilage and their interiors. The notion of curtilage is not defined by legislation, but according to Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Planning Authorities (2011) it is that parcel of land immediately associated with the structure and which is (or was) in use for the purpose of the structure. The attendant grounds of a structure are the lands outside the curtilage of the structure but which are associated with the structure and are intrinsic to its function, setting and/or appreciation.

Architectural Conservation Areas
Architectural Conservation Areas (ACA) are places, groups of structures or townscapes that are of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural scientific, social or technical interest/value or contribute to the appreciation of Protected Structures. ACAs and candidate ACAs are listed in every County Development Plan and Town Development Plan.
National Inventory of Architectural Heritage
The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) places a statutory basis under the provisions of the Architectural Heritage (National Inventory) and Historic Monuments (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1999. The NIAH’s role is to identify record and evaluate the post-1700 architectural heritage of Ireland. It aims to promote the appreciation of, and contributes to the protection of, the built heritage by systematically recording a representative sample of that built heritage on a nationwide basis. The surveys provide the basis for the recommendations of the Minister to the planning authorities for the inclusion of particular structures in the Record of Protected Structures (RPS).
Kilkenny City Walls, Conservation Plan (2005)
A conservation plan has been prepared for Kilkenny County Council and the Heritage Council by Oxford Archaeology which sets out the significance of the Kilkenny City Walls, identifies threats to their significance and policies for the future protection and management.
National Policy on Town Defences Environment Heritage and Local Government (2008)
Town defences are considered to be monuments for the purposes of the National Monuments Acts, 1930-2004, and are duly protected under that legislation. They are also protected under the Planning and Development Acts, 2000-2006, (where listed as protected structures or located within architectural conservation areas).

This publication sets out the national policy for the protection, preservation and conservation of the defences of towns and cities. The policy document defines town defences as including all walls, gates, towers, earthen banks and fosses, bastions, outworks and other features. The document is intended to assist planning authorities, and other agencies, owners and occupiers responsible for protecting structures of special architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, social or technical interest. The Appendix to the policy document contains important information on Ministerial Consent Policy, and provides essential guidance for any person proposing to carry out work at or in proximity to town defences (whether upstanding or buried remains).