This week intern Madeleine Harris travels to Birr for the second half of her internship in the Birr office. She will be learning archaeological skills not typically taught in a field school, starting with archaeological impact assessment skills. This is part of our unique internship which teaches a whole range of archaeological techniques.
Week 6 – 5th February 2018
After arriving in Birr on Friday and settling in our new homestay, we were excited to begin work on Monday morning! Grace, Chanel, and Liam were all here with me for the first week in Birr. We spent most of the day getting organized and familiarized with our new office and took a tour of our new town. Afterwards, we began sorting and finalizing records from Ferrycarrig. Grace and I digitized the sample and finds registers, while Liam sorted through the plans to prepare them for digitization. He had to check that the legends were labeled correctly and included all crucial information, and ensure the plans were correct and would overlap properly. We also finished registering the finds into the National Museum of Ireland’s database and preparing for our upcoming impact assessment.
On Tuesday, we drove to the nearby village of Cadamstown to begin our assessment. We walked the pre-existing hiking path, Paul’s Lane Loop, which took us through the Slieve Bloom Mountains. It was a beautiful and snowy day, and we, as well as the two dogs with us, enjoyed the walk. Throughout the trail, we stopped to take photos and notes about the various archaeological sites and monuments we encountered. These included the abandoned village of Bordingstown and several artifacts within Cadamstown. We used maps from the National Monuments Service to track our walk and made necessary updates along the way.
Once we returned to the office, we spent the remaining hours, as well as the next couple of days, working on our assessments. The reports are thorough and include the proposed development, a historical summary of the area, and multiple appendices discussing the finds and monuments near the trail. They end with a description of measures that should be taken in order for the development to occur.
After our reports were drafted, we decided to begin a second assessment on Friday. This time, we walked along the Glinsk Castle Loop in Kinnitty. This walk was longer but had fewer points of archaeological significance. The main monument on the loop was Glinsk Castle. We stopped and looked for it, but found nothing more than a few stones forming a possible border wall.
After the walk was finished, we stopped for lunch in the Kinnitty Castle Hotel to celebrate Grace, Chanel, and Liam’s last day in Birr.
Instead of returning to the office after lunch, we decided to take a final field trip, and drove to Clonmacnoise, a beautiful monastic site on the River Shannon. It was the perfect way to spend our last day together!