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Archaeological excavation at 63-64 Thomas Street, Dublin 8, 2009


thomasst1 The excavation took place from the 20th July to the 7th August 2009 at the rear of nos. 63 and 64, Thomas Street, Dublin 8 under licence 09E0254. The site had been granted planning permission by Dublin and was being developed by James Murphy. An archaeological assessment including trial testing had been recommended by Dublin Corporation and this had been carried out in April 2009 by Judith Carroll under the above licence. An Archaeological Impact Statement had also been prepared by the above and recommendations for archaeological mitigation had been made by the City Archaeologist.

The archaeological testing had revealed archaeological layers 1-1.5m below ground level. Because of the various construction methods, the archaeological impact differed between the north two thirds of the site and the southern third part and the site was divided into two areas: Area 1, the northern area, and Area 2, the southern area. In Area 1, it was found that there would be complete archaeological impact, but in Area 2, piling would avoid impact over most areas Full excavation therefore took place on Area 1 with monitoring during part of some of the construction work in Area 2.

The site is of particular interest. It revealed part of a medieval tanning pit complex in one of the cities oldest quarters outside the western gate of the medieval city of Dublin. The site is very close to, and may be part of, the tannery complex found at Vicar Street immediately to the west of the site and is positioned just outside the southern precincts of the medieval hospital of The Fratres Crucifieri which was founded by Aildred Palmer and his wife.

Palmer, the founder of this earliest Dublin hospital, was an Ostman, according to Ware, one of the Norse citizens of Dublin before the Normans seized the city in 1170. Though the precise date of the founding of the hospital is unknown, it had been established and at work for some time before 1188 when it received formal confirmation and substantial privileges from Pope Clement III. The hospital appears to have been a very important and busy establishment into the first quarter of the 14th century. With the decline of English power during the 14th century, the revenues of the hospital were diminished by the loss of distant estates and in 1373, the number of beds had been reduced to 115 because no more could been maintained. The hospital was suppressed in 1539 under Henry VIII.

The medieval street, Thomas Street, would have separated the tannery from the hospital. Excavation of the site revealed a complex of tanning pits, most of which were wood-lined. Medieval pottery and leather shoes along with waste fragments of leather were recovered from the pits.



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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