Appendix C - Draft Archaeological Report (DAR) Section A - Abbey Quarter executive summary and contents
(DAR) Section A - Abbey Quarter executive summary and contents (Download Summary and Contents)
SUMMARY OF CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
SECTION I: APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
1.1 THE APPROACH
1.2.1 Historic Sources
1.2.2 Conservation Sources
1.2.3 Archaeological Sources
1.2.4 Cartographic Sources
1.2.5 Photographic Collections
1.2.6 The National Museum of Ireland - Artefacts
1.2.7 Site and photographic survey
1.3 STATUTORY POLICY AND GUIDANCE
SECTION II: UNDERSTANDING THE PLAN AREA: HISTORY AND CHRONOLOGY
2.1 HISTORY AND CHRONOLOGY
2.1.2 Archaeological Background
2.2 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORD
2.3 OUTLINE CHRONOLOGY
SECTION III: THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXT
3.1.1 Archaeological investigations within the Masterplan Area
3.1.2 Areas investigated outside the Masterplan area
3.1.3 Summary of archaeological investigation works
SECTION IV: UNDERSTANDING THE MONUMENTS & BUILDINGS
4.1 THE MASTERPLAN AREA
4.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE BUILDINGS AND FABRIC
4.2.1 St Francis’ Abbey
4.2.2 The Medieval City Wall and Mural Towers
4.2.3 Structural Assessment: Evan’s Tower and Wall Walk
4.2.4 Structural Assessment: The Town Wall
4.2.5 Bull Inn
188.8.131.52 Structural Assessment: Bull Inn Wall
4.2.6 The Tea Houses
4.2.7 Original Gateway
4.2.8 The Visitor Centre
4.2.9 The Maturation Building
4.2.10 The Brewhouse
4.2.11 The Mayfair
4.2.12 The Mill
4.2.13 Other Structures
SECTION V: CONTEXT AND SETTING
5.1 URBAN CONTEXT
5.2 COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
5.3 PRESENTATION OF THE MONUMENTS & SETTING
5.3.1 Relationship of setting to curtilage, character and context
5.4 HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATIONS
5.5 PUBLIC EXPECTATIONS
PART VI: CONCLUSIONS
6.1 REVISIONING OF THE MASTERPLAN AREA
6.2 THE MANAGEMENT OF CHANGE
6.3 DEVELOPING AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL STRATEGY
6.4 HISTORIC CHARACTER AREAS AND PLACENAMES
6.5 TEST INVESTIGATION AND EXCAVATION
6.6 INTERPRETATION AND PRESENTATION
6.7 REPLACE OR RETAIN
6.8 NEW STRUCTURES
6.10 CIVIC ENGAGEMENT & MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Figure 1 Aerial view of Kilkenny and the Masterplan Area
Figure 2 Map of Masterplan Area
Figure 3 Archaeological sensitivity mapping
Figure 4 Zone of Archaeological Potential for Kilkenny
Figure 5 RMP, RPS and NIAH site locations
Figure 6 St Francis’ Abbey OPW 1966
Figure 7 Down Survey c. 1656
Figure 8 Rocque 1758
Figure 9 Loughman’s Estate map, date uncertain
Figure 10 A Plan of the City of Kilkenny, by Sam Byron, c. 1781
Figure 11 Hogan’s map of 1860
Figure 12 OS First Edition 6-inch map, 1839-40
Figure 13 OS Second Edition 25” scale (1872 published)
Figure 14 OS Revised Edition 25-inch Map, 1900
Figure 15 OS Revised Edition 25-inch Map, 1946
Figure 16 Map after Bradley (2000) Medieval City Walls
Figure 17 KKAP Overview
Figure 18 Plan of St. Francis’ Abbey OPW 1966
Figure 19 Plan of St. Francis’ Abbey, areas of archaeological investigation
Figure 20 Masterplan area, below ground remains and areas of investigation
Figure 21 Reconstruction of Mill based on archaeological remains on the mill island
Figure 22 Plan, section, and elevations of Pleasure House
Figure 23 Geotechnical investigations monitored by CDHC in 2013/14
Figure 24 Proposed Demolitions
Figure 25 Monuments and historic structures within the Masterplan area
Figure 26 Plan survey of Evan’s Tower by Consarc (c. 2001)
Figure 27 Geodetic Survey of Evan’s Tower (MGL 1999)
Figure 28 Plan showing Condition of City Wall Sept. 1999 MGL
Figure 29 Site plan of Tea House after MGL 2001
Figure 30 Section of walling Bateman Quay jetty after MGL 2001
Figure 31 Tea House Roof Condition
Figure 32 Tea House Proposed Roof Repairs
Figure 33 Tea House Proposed Lintel Repairs
Figure 34 Plan of subsurface plant room
Figure 35 Typical Franciscan Abbey layout
Figure 36 Grey Abbey Co Kildare reconstruction
Figure 37 Franciscan Friary Castledermot Co Kildare
Figure 38 Notes on St Francis’ Abbey P Conlon
Figure 39 ACA map
Figure 40 NIAH sites, RPS and RMP sites and monuments within and adjacent to the Masterplan area
Figure 41 Minister’s legal ownership of St Francis’ Abbey
Figure 42 Extent of National Monument St Francis’ Abbey
Figure 43 St Francis’ Abbey Grose 1792
Figure 44 J.G. Robertson 1851 – St Francis’ Abbey and Mills
Figure 45 Castletown House Collection (Cat No. 28) Kilkenny City from the east
Figure 46a St Francis’ Abbey, pencil drawing R. Gibbs c. 1810
Figure 46b St Francis’ Abbey Brewery, pencil drawing c. 1860
Figure 47 ‘The Nore’ by E. J. Brenann 1882
Figure 48 Historic Character Map
Figure 49 Historic OPW photographs of structures surrounding St Francis’ Abbey
Figure 50 Previous excavation and monitoring work at St Francis’ Abbey
Figure 51 Ordnance Survey manuscript town plan of Kilkenny 1841
Figure 52 Areas identified though research for archaeological investigation
Figure 53 Rocque’s map showing area of investigation
Figure 54 Masterplan proposal
Plate 1 Presentation of City Wall at Watergate
Plate 2 East Window of St Francis Friary
Plate 3 The Liber Primus Kilkennienis
Plate 4 An extract from the Concise History of the Corporation of Kilkenny 1873
Plate 5 Eastern Elevation of Tower1926
Plate 6 Eastern Elevation of Tower 1928
Plate 7 Detail of stone work 1952
Plate 8 Stone masons at work St Francis Abbey
Plate 9 The Edwin Rae Collection, sedila in the choir
Plate 10 The Stalley Collection, Bell capital
Plate 11 A sample of 17th century pottery
Plate 12 Reconstructed pots
Plate 13 A sample of floor tiles
Plate 14 Corbel figurines, St Francis’ Abbey
Plate 15 The Irishtown Seal
Plate 16 Extract from Ledwich (1781)
Plate 17 St Ciaran’s Font, St Francis Abbey
Plate 18 Bull Inn by Graves 1841
Plate 19 Bull Inn plaque
Plate 20 Bull Inn plaque
Plate 21 St Francis’ Abbey Brewery c. 1900
Plate 22 St Francis’ Abbey Brewery c. 1900
Plate 23 Single-column beam engine
Plate 24 St Francis’ Abbey Brewery c. 1900
Plate 25 St Francis’ Abbey Brewery c. 1900
Plate 26 Delahunty grave slab in situ
Plate 27 Delahunty grave slab present location
Plate 28 Collection of clay pipes uncovered during the River Nore
Flood Alleviation Scheme
Plate 29 Monitoring ESB trench, culvert section 1
Plate 30 Metal Detection of Spoil
Plate 31 Revetment wall at Evan’s Tower
Plate 32 Model of Medieval Kilkenny
Plate 33 Protected structure that faces onto the Masterplan area
Plate 34 Protected structure that faces onto the Masterplan area
Plate 35 Northern elevation of tower 1928
Plate 36 Work in progress to the East Window and Gable
Plate 37 Underside of vaulting in tower
Plate 38 Work in progress on the sacristy
Plate 39 Sample Rooms
Plate 40 The sacristy today
Plate 41 Evan’s Tower east elevation
Plate 42 Evan’s Tower northeast elevation
Plate 43 Evan’s Tower and wall walk landside
Plate 44 Evan’s Tower and wall walk from the River Breagagh
Plate 45 City Wall
Plate 46 City Wall
Plate 47 City Wall
Plate 48 City Wall
Plate 49 Bull Inn Wall
Plate 50 Bull Inn Wall
Plate 51 Bull Inn Wall
Plate 52 Bull Inn Wall
Plate 53 Tea House - Consolidated
Plate 54 Tea House – Sentry Box
Plate 55 Tea House – Ceiling interior
Plate 56 Tea House – doorway and window
Plate 57 Original Gateway
Plate 58 Jenkin’s Laneway
Plate 59 Brew Masters House
Plate 60 Visitors Centre
Plate 61 Maturation Building external elevation
Plate 62 Maturation Building external elevation
Plate 63 Maturation Building internal workings
Plate 64 Maturation Building internal workings
Plate 65 Brewhouse northern elevation
Plate 66 Brewhouse northeast elevation
Plate 67 Brewhouse western elevation
Plate 68 Brewhouse subterranean plant room
Plate 69 Interior of Brewhouse
Plate 70 Brewhouse interior – storage vats
Plate 71 Brewhouse interior – storage vats
Plate 72 Mayfair Building
Plate 73 Section of City Wall - landside
Plate 74 Section of City Wall - riverside
Plate 75 City Wall to the rear of the Mayfair Building taken from the east showing spring stones of a former bridge site
Plate 76 City Wall to the rear of the Mayfair Building taken from the west (Watergate)
Plate 77 View of ruined Mill from the southeast
Plate 78 View of ruined Mill from the east
Plate 79 Truck wash garage
Plate 80 Bottling store
Plate 81 Hop store
Plate 82 Kegging store
Plate 83 Masterplan area c. 1950’s
Plate 84 Franciscan Friary Donegal, founded 1474
Plate 85 Quin Franciscan Friary, Co Clare, founded 1433
Plate 86 View of St Francis’ Abbey taken from the north
Plate 87 Franciscan Friary at Castledermot, showing transept
Plate 88 Franciscan Friary at Castledermot founded c. 1247
Plate 89 Views from the Masterplan area towards St Canice’s
Plate 90 Kilkenny Streetscape
Plate 91 Rive Nore view to the south
Plate 92 Panoramic view of the northern section of the Masterplan area
Plate 93 Brew Masters House
Plate 94 View to the east from the East window St Francis’ Abbey
Plate 95 Smithwicks yard to the southeast of St Francis’ Abbey
Appendix A St Francis’ Abbey Historic Sources
Appendix B Irish Historic Towns Atlas Gazetteer
Appendix C County and City Gaol
Appendix D Geotechnical Results
Appendix E Archaeological Investigations
Appendix F Architectural Heritage Inventory
Appendix G Conservation Measures
The team comprised Courtney Deery Heritage Consultancy (CDHC) Ltd and Lisa Edden, Conservation Engineer. Steve Hickey of CDHC produced all the drawings within the report.
CDHC wishes to acknowledge the assistance provided by Kilkenny County Council. Many thanks are also extended to the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, the National Museum of Ireland and the OPW who allowed their archives to be reviewed, and special thanks is extended to Tony Roche for assisting us with trawling through the photographic archive. Thanks are due to Heritage Council who provided valuable insights in relation to the heritage and archaeological monuments of the Masterplan area and to Margaret Gowen who provided the archaeological strategy from which this framework document evolved from. Margaret is also to be commended for allowing illustrations and drawings of the River Nore Flood Alleviation Scheme to be reproduced in this document. Thanks to Cóilín O’Drisceoil (Kilkenny Archaeology), Rob Goodbody and Grace Fegan (Rothe House) for providing copies of historic maps and illustrations. Finally, thanks to all the archaeologists that investigated the plan area and whose work is recorded within this report.
We would also like to express our gratitude to David Sweetman, formerly Chief Archaeologist of the State, who responded to queries regarding the excavation and monitoring works carried out in the early 1970’s at St Francis’ Abbey and kindly allowed his site plan to be reproduced in this document. We also acknowledge the excavation work carried out by Marcus Ó hEochaidhe at St Francis’ Abbey and the late John Bradley, medieval archaeologist and urban historian in relation to charting the development of Kilkenny and bringing to life the historic character of this great medieval city.
Figure 1 Aerial view of Kilkenny and the Masterplan Area
Kilkenny is an ancient city characterised by beautifully restored old buildings, winding laneways and nationally important landmark monuments such as Kilkenny Castle and St Canice’s Cathedral. It is widely regarded as Ireland’s most intact and easily legible medieval town.
The Masterplan area is located at the heart of the medieval core of Kilkenny on lands comprising of some 7.5 hectares. Part of the lands (approximately 5.3 hectares) were previously occupied by Smithwicks/DIAGEO as part of an active brewery, known locally as ‘St Francis’ Abbey Brewery’ (SFAB). The local authority has entered into an agreement to purchase these lands. Within the brewery site, large scale clearance including the demolition of existing modern structures to the ground slab level is planned prior to Kilkenny County Council taking ownership of the site.
The lands align the western bank of the River Nore in the townlands of Gardens (Kilkenny City By., St Canice Par.) and St Mary’s Parish and form part of the Zone of Archaeological Potential of the Historic Town (KK019-026---) as well as St Canice’s and the City Centre architectural conservation areas (ACAs). The site is divided by the River Breagagh in an east-west fashion, historically the south of the river was defined as Englishtown or Hightown while north of the river was part of Irishtown.
The site is bordered to the south by Bateman Quay and the Market Yard. To the north lie some residential properties and industrial units which are accessed from Green Street, this northern area is less developed and was primarily used by the brewery for vehicular parking, truck washing and storage. Parliament Street, along with Horse Barrack Lane and Vicar Street bound the site on the west.
The acquisition of the site by Kilkenny County Council and the rejuvenation of these lands provides a unique opportunity to preserve, enhance and present key upstanding medieval structures such as St Francis’ Abbey, Evan’s turret (or tower) and wall walk and the city wall as well as the brewery buildings and protected structures such as the Tea Houses and integrate them within the historic character and newly visioned streetscape of Kilkenny and within the existing urban context of a living and vibrant city.
Figure 2 Map of Master Plan Area based on Ordnance Survey of Ireland Map Licence No. Kilkenny/CCMA/08/12
This document further develops the archaeological strategy that was devised by Margaret Gowen and presented to Kilkenny County Council in March 2014*. It sets out to implement a framework that considers the retention and enhancement of the cultural heritage structures and areas of heritage potential and significance within the Masterplan area while securing an approach for the appropriate design and development of the site.
This report was commissioned by Kilkenny County Council in order to:
Enhance the understanding of the historic development of the site.
Create a record of the existing knowledge base.
Inform the Masterplan process so future decisions can be based on all available archaeological and historical information.
The context for commissioning this strategy has been the desire by the local authority to inform the design process and to ensure that a confident archaeological risk assessment framework is developed based on a full understanding of the upstanding monuments and below ground archaeological remains.
*Archaeological and Heritage Strategy for the proposed development of the Abbey Creative Quarter, St Francis Abbey Brewery, Kilkenny. Prepared by Margaret Gowen for Kilkenny County Council. March 2014.
Plate 1 Presentation of the City Wall at Watergate
The deliverables of the framework are to: -
Prepare a baseline historical and cartographical study.
Engage with relevant stakeholders.
Produce a scaled drawing of previous site investigations.
Undertake a review of all standing buildings and their fabric to include a preliminary conservation assessment of the historic structures.
Compile geo-technical and deposit information from previous archaeological investigations and monitoring reports and prepare where possible an archaeological deposit model.
Review OPW excavation archive.
Identify the scope, position and nature of further archaeological investigations required and indicate at what stage in the development process that these would take place.
Make recommendations as to all necessary mitigation measures for inclusion in the Masterplan.
To achieve these deliverables it is necessary first to: -
Understand the history and development of the site.
Understand the nature and significance of the visible structures and the underlying archaeology.
Understand the vulnerabilities that may give rise to damage or degradation of the conservation value of the monuments and protected structures on site.
Only then is it possible to make recommendations for the safeguarding of above ground structures and the below ground potential that provide for:
The development of our knowledge and understanding of the site.
The appropriate terms of reference for the protection and management of the heritage structures now and in the future.
A plan for repairs and conservation works.
The future uses and management of the site.
The site sits at the heart of the Zone of Archaeological Potential for Kilkenny City, and, any ground breaking works within it has the potential to uncover archaeological remains. Through a detailed study of existing cartography, extant archaeological monuments and features, and an examination of the findings from literally hundreds of test trenches, bore holes, window samples, dredged river areas, and archaeological assessments, it is possible to generate an understanding of where there is a potential to reveal significant below ground archaeological remains.
The site as it exists today exerts a strong industrial presence over the Kilkenny skyline and as a result of this and the private ownership of the lands, the earlier medieval structures lack a legibility within the streetscape of Kilkenny and are difficult to access having largely gone unrecognised. There is a significant opportunity to reconnect these historic landmark sites and the River Nore and to
provide a strong, distinct visual and physical presence to the existing streetscape of Kilkenny.
The phased and planned removal of some of the modern structures within the site as well as the sensitive redevelopment of industrial buildings from the 1930’s to the 1960’s has the potential to enhance and redefine the space surrounding the historic monuments. By providing a diverse building template, as well as revitalising and reusing modern buildings, a balance can be achieved between old and the new thereby creating an interesting sense of place adapted for a new range of uses meeting the needs of the local population and visitors alike.
SUMMARY OF CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
The collection of upstanding monuments is a testament to an unusually complete survival of a nationally significant complex of medieval buildings and structures within an urban environment. The abbey is the only example of a Franciscan monastery in a city scape set within an open space albeit altered throughout the years.
St Francis’ Abbey is regarded as an elegant construction that demonstrates the wealth of the order while showcasing the engineering ingenuity and masonry skills of the craftsmen during the medieval period.
The Abbey is also known to have been the final resting place for several citizens of high standing within Kilkenny and was associated with the renowned scholar Friar John Clyn who provided valuable insights into medieval society and documented the spread of the Black Death in 1348 before it is thought that he succumbed to the plague himself and died in Kilkenny.
As a centre of learning and enlightenment the Abbey was celebrated throughout the Franciscan community and obtained the status of a studium for both philosophy and theology the only house to achieve this double status*.
Marcus ÓhEochaidhe’s excavations in 1963 combined with monitoring through the 1970s by David Sweetman of St. Francis’ Abbey has indicated the possible extent of significant medieval ecclesiastical remains, revealing that the standing tower and unroofed choir were once flanked by a transept, nave, sacristy, cloister, and cloister walk. There is a strong likelihood that further important remains of the Franciscan abbey (including a chapter house, and living quarters) are present below ground.
The uncovering of a series of inhumations within the abbey points to its regular and continued use as a burial ground as well as the potential that further human remains are present in the environs.
The location of these medieval structures within what was once a traditional brewery site in single ownership has helped protect them over the years but has also kept them separate from the rest of the historic building stock of the city. The former brewery that dominated the western banks of the river Nore, is important in its own right for the economic, social, industrial and technological contributions that it made to Kilkenny city.
Monitoring and testing within the Masterplan site has created an understanding of how the general area developed along with how it was dictated by flooding events of the Rivers Nore and Breagagh. This development stems from the gradual reclamation of land, to the setting out of medieval burgage plots (appearing as shallow, long ditches orientated both north–south and east–west) as shown in Rocque’s Map of 1758, and the adaption in the use of the river with the development of mills, and the strong association with brewing.
A wide range of archaeological remains, artefacts, and features are seen within the Masterplan area. Finds of possible plague victims from the medieval period, Franciscan abbey remains, ruined towers, city walls and defences, and medieval deposits, burgage plots, industrial mill houses, riverside pleasure houses with stone jettys, along with burials of felons from a 19th century gaol house, indicate an extremely rich and varied archaeological record.
The archaeology and history of the site represents at least seven hundred years of development, redesign, alteration, re-use and adaptation, reflecting the changing fortunes of the monastery and later developments on the site such as the Horse Barracks and St Francis’ Abbey Brewery. It is a unique urban historic area.
*At the provincial chapter of 1647, Kilkenny was designated as a studium for philosophy and theology, Benignus Millett, The Irish Franciscans 1651-1665 (Rome 1964), pg 357 in Joseph Mac Mahon ‘The Franciscans in Kilkenny’, OKR, 64 (2012). The double status of the stadium relates only to the Irish Franciscans in Ireland. Each province of the Order (Ireland was a province) was obliged to have at least one studium or study house where all Franciscan students would be taught either philosophy or theology. In the years in question, St Francis Abbey was allowed to teach both disciplines which demonstrates that it was considered to be a significant foundation which is not surprising considering that Kilkenny was a politically important location at the time.
Nestled within the former brewery site, the medieval structures, have not enjoyed the widespread public appreciation and interaction that other medieval monuments in Kilkenny have had due to restricted access issues. As a result they have become lost and forgotten locally, regionally and nationally. The Masterplan has the potential to breathe new life into these historic gems.
Whilst part of St Francis’ Abbey has been excavated in the 1960’s unearthing the nave and transept, and further excavations on adjacent sites have taken place such as those at Grace’s Castle/ Kilkenny Courthouse and the Vicar’s Choral there are no published accounts of any of these excavations. Without the full archive available for review, inconsistencies in the existing record and knowledge gaps can develop causing difficulty in understanding the development and the fabric of the site. This can lead to an inadvertent loss of material and an improper use of modern structures, uses and material.
The ownership and long term management of the site has ramifications as to how the area is developed, and how control measures are implemented to ensure that no inadvertent damage/loss occurs to below ground remains and for ensuring that the developer is fully aware of the archaeological significance and potential of the site.
The responsibility for the maintenance, conservation and future use of the national monuments onsite held by the, Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, Kilkenny County Council and the OPW may be subject to differing priorities and conflicting management styles. However views from different organisations can contribute positively to the discussion of the monuments and enhance the overall interpretation and presentation of these features.
Funding for archaeological assessment work and the maintenance and servicing of monuments is now limited and this is a further significant challenge to ensure plans for the area are appropriate and sustainable.
Figure 3 Archaeological Sensitivity Mapping
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
Approach and Collaborative Design Process
With a development of this nature and scale at the heart of the historic city of Kilkenny there is the potential for conflicting values to be placed on different aspects of the site and for competing visions. It is the purpose of this document to provide an understanding of the cultural heritage value so it may be considered along with other values and be part of a collaborative decision making and design process.
1. The successful implementation of a collaborative and balanced approach depends on a wide acceptance and active support from all interested stakeholders/ parties.
2. The objective is to retain and celebrate the historic quality of the plan area and to promote its significance through interpretation and appropriate presentation while developing a site that is an example of high quality urban planning and design that is fit for purpose and meets the needs of modern Kilkenny.
3. Understanding and respecting the historic monuments and open spaces that occupy the Masterplan area is central to the design process. The protection of the historical character must seek to strengthen visual and physical links with other historical and archaeological sites within Kilkenny.
4. The job at hand is to manage the change appropriately and to place the Abbey precinct at the centre of the development. Evidence has shown that successful integration of historic environments and contemporary developments help create vibrant and distinctive places that encourage sustainable growth and social interaction (and ultimately the protection of the cultural heritage resource)*.
Information and Research
5. Significant archaeological excavation work has taken place on and adjacent to the plan area but the results have never been assembled or assessed, nor do they form part of the public record and cannot be brought forward as part of the ‘cultural artefact’ for the site. While this report has sought to provide an understanding and overview of this work it should be a priority to gain access to the original archives so they can inform the future development of the Masterplan area.
6. Develop a centralised digital archive so all information is maintained and accessible. All future archaeological work associated with the plan area can in turn be informed by this archive and add to it.
7. Develop a research framework and partnership with academic institutions, heritage networks and the Discovery Programme for future archaeological, architectural and historical research and targeted investigation to increase the understanding of the monument complex and purposely contribute to the discussion regarding the use and chronology of the site.
*New life for historic cities – The historic urban landscape approach explained UNESCO 2013
Archaeological Strategy - Investigation
In order to provide an understanding of the extent and type of below ground archaeological potential, archaeological test excavation and excavation is required.
Within the former Diageo site, the stratigraphy demonstrated in archaeological investigations throughout the site commonly shows a sequence of modern concrete, sitting above made ground, over evidence of post medieval walls or structural foundations, overlaying (an often sterile) organic dark silty clay with occasional finds dating it to the medieval period, along with river silts and gravels, and a yellow boulder clay.
It is suggested that the following guiding principles are adopted to facilitate an understanding of the below ground archaeological remains and to minimise disturbance of the remains where possible, the strategy involves a combination of full excavation and preservation in situ:
8. Excavation is to take place in the environs of St Francis’ Abbey with investigations extending to Evan’s Tower and St Francis’ Well site at the waterfront and to the extant buildings to the south and the River Breagagh to the north. The concrete slab in and around the National Monument of St Francis’ Abbey is to be lifted and the area investigated and excavated (Figures 52 and 53).
9. The purpose of this excavation is to confirm the limited knowledge that exists today through cartographic and documentary research and also to confirm the findings of Marcus ÓhEochaidhe’s excavation in the 1960’s as shown on a map belonging to that time (Figure 6). It is hoped that this will answer key questions such as the location and extent of burials, the survival and ground plan/layout of the transept, nave and cloister, whether the Abbey Precinct was walled and if this can be defined and any additional features that may have influenced life in a medieval Franciscan friary or finds that can further inform the significance of the monument.
10. There is merit and precedence to link research excavation work with volunteer programs and open the experience to the general public and interested parties as a structured learning programme. This also has the advantage of uniquely identifying St Francis’ Abbey within the medieval city of Kilkenny and act as a live attraction and educational experience**.
11. The extent of these excavations is to be informed and guided by a comprehensive and targeted testing programme (Figure 3; archaeological sensitivity map) (detailed in Section VI).
12. The findings from these excavations are to be included in the proposed framework for the area in an imaginative and creative way lending themselves to an educational experience. 13. Depending on the nature of the remains, consideration is to be given to leaving below ground masonry remains in-situ so they can be explored as part of the St Francis’ Abbey experience and exhibited.
14. Archaeological investigation in the form of test trenching and strategically placed boreholes will assist the development of the southern and northern portion of the plan area. Initially it is proposed to place a series of boreholes at regular intervals in order to build a cross-section, below ground profile of the site. This will be supplemented by testing where necessary and areas of interest will be excavated.
15. Where there is an existing concrete slab (300-400mm thick) within the Diageo site (immediately north of the River Breagagh and to the south of the Abbey), it is proposed that this remains in-situ (subject to verification from an engineering perspective that it is suitable to build upon) and that no basements or lower ground levels are permitted onsite. This approach will minimise disturbance to the below ground archaeological deposits.
16. A proposed sub-structure will consist of a series of piles set out to a 7.5m grid with a ground beam located above the existing slab level. All excavation work and the proposed piling strategy within the complex will be preceded and informed by an appropriate programme of archaeological evaluation (Section VI).
17. It is also proposed that new services, where possible, are to be located in a 500-1500mm band of made ground (detailed Section VI, 6.8 New Structures), raised up from the existing slab and in the case of drainage that it will linked with existing services on the site.
18. To the north and south of the plan area, post medieval, medieval linear garden plots extending east–west have been recorded in excavations and from cartographic references. In the design of this area elements must be introduced (hard landscaping, plots, open space etc) that will reflect the medieval garden plot layout.
19. The River Breagagh and Nore are integral to the setting and history of the site and substantial deposits as well as features were revealed along the waterfront during previous investigations and are detailed in Section III of the report. Works associated with the rivers in previously unexplored areas will be appropriately archaeologically investigated where necessary.
**Several submissions including Kilkenny Archaeological Society (RV51) and Liam Mannix (RV13) have suggested that excavations are undertaken by professionals, volunteers and students and open to the public, lending themselves to an educational and learning experience.
Conservation and Repair
The conservation priorities documented in this report established the need for:
1. Immediate stabilisation works
2. Archaeological investigation works in order to inform conservation practices
3. Conservation works fit for purpose
20. Future proposals associated with St Francis’ Abbey will have to be agreed in advance with the relevant authorities. Previous interventions and additions to fabric such as the concrete superstructure and iron pillars now examples of historic conservation should be retained where appropriate and where these do not diminish the integrity of the structure.
21. The conservation of Evan’s Tower and wall walk and the city defences central to the plan area as well as the tea houses at the southern end and the Bull Inn wall located to the northwest and the mill buildings to the north is largely dependent on the proposed future function of these historic features and the role that they will have in the overall development proposal. A range of conservation measures are proposed in Section IV and Appendix F of the report.
Implementation, Delivery and Finance
Governance and the management of property within the Masterplan area has to be placed within a robust framework to ensure the delivery of a design approach that takes cognisance of the historic character and the buried archaeological potential of the site. This may be achieved through Kilkenny County Council retaining an interest or appropriate partnerships being forged, local management frameworks created and mandatory archaeologically-led guidelines informing the design process contributing to the sensitive redevelopment of the site. This is an opportunity to set a model of urban design for the regeneration of a historic town.
22. In order to ensure that these proposals are carried out, mandatory procedures or specific design contracts detailing the archaeological conditions will be required in order to confirm compliance and will have to be adopted by potential developers on the site.
23. It is recommended that potential avenues for funding from the EU, government, development-led and private sources is actively investigated as a priority in order to support the archaeological investigation of the site.
Plate 2 East Window of St Francis’ Abbey