Sigginstown Castle

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Archeology in 2019 with David Sweetman

After we received planning permission in October 2018, we needed to comply with several conditions from Wexford County Council and the Department of Gaeltacht Arts and Heritage and Culture.  

Our previous archeologist was not able to support our project due to workload conflicts, so we looked for a new professional who could help us in the building phase of our project.  Luckily, due to our membership in the Castle Studies Group and the annual tours, one recently in Ireland, we had met several Irish archeologists! We asked several for feedback and engaged David Sweetman - an authority on Irish castles who was interested in our project.

In 2019 we completed three rounds of archeology and monitoring by David Sweetman. Since Catherine had done a very thorough job of the test pits around the site, we did not expect to find anything surprising or new, and we didn't. 

As always we really enjoyed the archeology process, and working with David was an excellent and educational experience. For all the excavation work we had  Ollie Cadogan back to run the diggers (large and small) under David's supervision. Since we also had to do excavation by hand in the tower and the house, David was with us to guide our activities.

February 2019 Archeology & Excavation

Our first big session of excavation and archeology took place in February. Liz had prepared a project plan that had a lot of activity occurring in our first week so we could maximize David and Ollie's time with any activity that required digging . Thus we wanted to get all of our septic, drainage, entrance/driveway, house, tower,  and agricultural building done. We had recruited a few willing volunteers to help us with hand work.  Digging the first week of February was cold, but when moving heavy clay warms you up quickly! Thanks to the people involved in the that first frenetic week of activity!

Sod Removal from Parapets - April 2019

We needed the scaffolding up before we could safely access the parapets, so work to clear the parapets happened in April 2019. There was a couple of inches of spongy turf built up on the wall walk after at least a century of weather and birds. We were very curious to see what might be underneath, and we were hoping for intact flag stones and drains leading out to the scuppers (drain holes).  Alas, we did not find that - the walk walks are small and our tower is plain. If there were originally larger flagstones they were long gone.


Interestingly, there were remains of some small flagstones around the chimney. These were mortared in so were deliberately placed there. However there were nail holes in one or two, so these were probably earlier roof slates that were repurposed. 



New Driveway and Courtyard Monitoring - August 2019

We had originally planned the final stages of archeology to be done in 2020 or later. However we were concerned we might need the new driveway earlier for access by big machinery, including the crane to install the tower roof.  So with some careful detailed planning, we arranged another complicated work week in August 2019 with the new entrance along the Norman Way road. We also wanted to clear all the piles of dirt from our February excavation so we could re-seed the fields and put them back to grazing for sheep and cattle.


David came back for the third session, working with Ollie again. Since the driveway had significant test pits done by Catherine in 2018, there was not much to see except more clay!  The piles of excavated subsoil were spread over the fields by Ollie, and the topsoil created a raised garden bed.


The summary report for the new access way can be found here.