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Carlow 2On the west end of Kennedy Street, towards Castle Hill street towards the castle, human burials were found (Plate 2). These burials probably relate to an early medieval ecclesiastical site, probably pre-dating St. Mary’s Church, a later medieval foundation on the north side Kennedy Street. A monastery is claimed to have been founded by St. Comgall in Carlow in the 6th century and this may well be the site of the monastery which predated the Anglo-Norman motte and subsequent castle.

This earlier burial ground is called the ‘Castle Hill graveyard’ and a little to the north of Carlow Castle. Very little of this is left, but a small hillock is present. In his work on the the site (limited publication, probably 1959), Henry Fennell of Everton, Carlow, a local historian, identified this graveyard as Crocan na Relige, as it was locally called, and states that this is the earliest burial site (of which there was originally more to the west). Much of this site was removed during the 18th century for housing. It seems very likely that this site opposite the castle may be the earliest site in Carlow and may indeed be the site of the 6th or 7th century monastery or abbey (pers comm. Dermot Mulligan, Carlow County Museum). Only three burials were identified in situ.during the excavation by the writer in July. They were partial and one was represented only by a humurus in situ. The burials were typically extended east-west with the heads to the west and were only some 30cm below ground level. A human remains report is in progress.

Plate 2: Burial in situate on the south side of Kennedy Street, just east of juncture with Mill Lane.



Judith Carroll & Co Ltd
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Dublin 18 

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