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The building is said to be on the site of the present St. Cianan's church within the enclosure. From 783 onwards the Annals of Ulster record the names of the abbots of Duleek. The annals imply also that Duleek was a settlement at the time of the early monastery. Repeated entries record that Duleek was burnt or pillaged and that houses were destroyed and people killed. An entry in the annals for 1183 reports that Duleek was captured and that 80 houses were burned.

In 1172 Hugh de Lacy was granted the kingdom of Meath by Henry II. He established a monastery in Duleek for Canons Regular of St Augustine, a cell of Llanthony near Gloucester (Cuffe 1963, 29). The early 13th century saw Duleek becoming a borough under Walter de Lacy

An earthen motte was constructed around this time, and was most likely situated to the east of the proposed development site close to the junction of Main Street with Station Road. This area is referred to by locals as 'The Moate', and it appears that this is a derivative of the word 'Motte'. The motte is of significance to this excavation, as it was directly across the river tributary on the east side of the site. The site of the motte which is no longer standing was excavated by Kieran Campbell (licence no. E209) in 1981. Medieval and post medieval pottery as well as a horseshoe of medieval date was found on the site (Campbell 1981).

There are several references to 'The Moate' from the historical records. Local historian Peter Moss, in an article from a Duleek Parish Magazine from the 1970's noted that 'according to an old drawing of 1725, it stood about sixty feet high and on the top were five or six trees.' In an account of the area by antiquarian Austin Cooper (1759-1830), who visited Duleek in June 1783, and drew several of the local monuments, it was noted that: 'At the N. side of this town stands a large Danish Mount, wch. being composed of good gravel is very much cut away and will in a short time be all taken away.' (Wright 2001, 175). From present and past accounts a possible history of 'The Moate' can be pieced together. It is likely that the original structure was an Anglo-Norman motte (Fig. 3). The building of a motte was usually the initial phase of Norman conquest, composed of a large, flat-topped, earthen fortification, strategically located followed later by the establishment of a manor.



Judith Carroll & Co Ltd
Archaeological Consultants
Ballybrack Road 
Dublin 18 

Tel: 01 6705067
Mobile: 087-9968819/ 087-3810933
Email: info@judithcarrollandco.ie
Website: www.judithcarrollandco.ie

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