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Archeology stuff - Bunratty

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Philadelphia...
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Archeology stuff - Bunratty

Here comes another one of these pure nerd things.

Trying to tie together the links on my first day's trip, I've been drawn back to Bunratty. But the castle is of absolutely no consequence.

It's not the right castle.

Right behind the Bunratty Castle hotel is a little ruin of a church. On this site, by all archeological and contemporary sources (annals of the four masters), the first civilized structures were built by the vikings as a trading post in 970. Brian Boru raided it in 977, essentially leveling it.

The first Bunratty Castle was supposedly built on this same ground in 1250; a motte and bailey castle, built by Robert Musegros with the castle sitting on the high ground that the current church ruins occupy.

The second castles - the important 1278 De Clare one - was built on or near the current castle site, but no part of that castle remains in the build of the current structure.

The third castle, barely even built in 1353, is elusive. No concrete sign or written record remains of it. But local tradition places it on the site of the Bunratty Castle Hotel.

clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/archaeology/ry…

There is no question inherent in this post; rather, it is just to put this information out there to add to the current knowledge base for the area for you guys who hand out the advice. It's kind of neat to know that the land beneath this little-mentioned ruin hidden behind the castle hotel has more historical significance than the 1450 Castle that is now such a tourist magnet.

Edited: 07 November 2012, 05:02
Cork, Ireland
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for Ireland
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1. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

Robert, it's time for you to take a break from archeology for a wee while and listen to the cork accent. This will help you identify when you have crossed over a county border into Cork. You're welcome !!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jv3EvkqJlQ

AND

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLQbzFLkoC8

Ventry, Ireland
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for Dingle Peninsula
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2. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

Nice one, Bryno bai.

Cork, Ireland
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3. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

Thank you soonas - and educational !

"Aren't I pure dacent?"

Translation:

"Wouldn't you agree that I am an exceptional person?"

Waterford, Ireland
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4. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

Its not the right castle'. You are no doubt correct Robert, except - the right castle for what? Very many of the old buildings, castles, churches etc in Ireland are built on or near the site of another one and they can go way back.

What do we do about the ones that have disappeared completely? Well not a lot, other than point out that there was another one previously, that we know almost nothing about. Meanwhile we have one here that is six or eight hundred years old and has/has not been restored. and that is what the visitors (and locals) can look at and see the history.

You could come to Waterford and I could say to you - here was a river that the original Vikings sailed up to create their settlement. Here - as people do - they threw all their rubbish into the river until it filled up and became just a swamp, till it was filled in and is now a road. Beside it is an area where the road layout is still the same as the original layout of the viking village, you are walking paths where people walked a thousand years ago. You are driving your car over the remains of longships. People have lived here for a thousand years, things change, evidence is lost.

For people with an archaeological frame of mind, and imagination, the information is still there but we can do no more than talk about it, most people - visitors to the site - would rather have something they can see and walk through, hence they will walk through Bunratty castle rather than look at a grassy field! Good luck with your research though, its a fascinating area to study.

Cavan
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5. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

You are right Doneraile, the longships rotting at the waters edge were before that trees which may have been planted during the Iron Age and so it goes on and on. Motte & Bailey were the remains probably from the Norman era when wooden walls were then replaced with stone. Churches were built as dependancies of priories - all in the name of progress and change.

Philadelphia...
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6. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

Yup - I think I'm digging so deep, I've lost track of daylight. It's a bizarre mindset - all about context.

As I try to figure out how to present Clare, things grow in complexity because there's so much information to plug in to understand it. It's mindblowing for an American - our tape doesn't go back a fraction so far. If you fine folks came on over to Philly, I could take you back about 300 years, and cover the story. My synapses are screaming, because your story runs ten times more deeply.

How is Ireland Ireland? The Celt migration. The Roman incursion stopped in Brittany. The Viking invasions, and their eventual turn to Normans in France. The Norman incursions. De Clare in Bunratty, and his destruction at the battle of Dysert O'dea, that bought Clare 200 more years of independence...

Bunratty initially was not part of the first day plan - it was straight on to Dysert O'Dea. But understanding the consequence of the battle there brought Bunratty back in play as a precursor to the story at Dysert O'dea.

Finding out that the very start of the story of civilized Clare began literally in Bunratty Castle's backyard was a bonus; finding out that the huge hulking ancient thing is actually the relatively inconsequential little brother (historically speaking) of not one but three other castles that predate it is jawdropping. It's a great damn stone castle - how can there be something older than that? Live and learn, Yankee.

And I haven't even begun to figure out how to bring out Brian Boru into the story yet.

I understand - kind of - that a tour of Ireland is (supposed to be) more of a visceral thing. But there's so much more to the story than picture postcards and pennywhistles, and just trying to sort it out and incorporate it smoothly into the itinerary. Perhaps the fact that for every site there's an hour on the road will help.

Perhaps I'll end up behind the wheel, forced to wear a ballgag by noon the first day.

But the story fascinates me.

Ottawa, Canada
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7. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

"Perhaps I'll end up behind the wheel, forced to wear a ballgag by noon the first day."

If your parents, who have known you for over half a century, are willing to travel to Ireland with you, then I suspect that they have a fair idea of what's in store for them! ;-)

Philadelphia...
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8. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

Heh. Well.. they've always known I'm geeked out, but they usually weren't subjected to it in such a concentrated fashion. I suspect It'll be interesting to see their faces when, after 10 hours or so on a plane, I lead them to the nearest picnic bench, spread out a map of Europe with 2 pre-prepared overlays, and intone. "This is Europe., and the year is 3,000 years BC...."

Oh yes. I would do that.

Yes. I already have the map and overlays.

I'm pathetic. ~LOL~

Philadelphia...
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9. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

(To be fair - there's a bit of levity in that last post. A Bit. I wouldn't haul them off the luggage line, just to lecture them.)

((But I pity the first horizontal surface I encounter in Bunratty...))

Waterford, Ireland
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10. Re: Archeology stuff - Bunratty

'Perhaps the fact that for every site there's an hour on the road will help'.

Er, well, no, there isn't. Depending on what you want to look at 15 minutes would be nearer the mark, and in some cases, less!