Claire Walsh is an archaeologist who works in the private sector, predominantly in Dublin, for Archaeological Projects Ltd. (14 Waterloo Road, Dublin 4 and 25 Coulson Avenue, Rathgar, Dublin 6W). She is also an author and has published books on archaeological excavations in Patrick Street, Nicholas Street and Winetavern Street, Dublin and on archaeological excavations of the Anglo-Norman waterfront at Strand Street Great, Dublin.
Excavation resulted from a major road widening scheme in Patrick St., Dublin, where Dublin Corporation Main Drainage division proposed to lay a new sewer in advance of the road works. The route of the new pipe was along the bed of the River Poddle (now flowing underground) on the west side of Patrick St., in a tunnel beneath St Michael's Hill (Christchurch Cathedral) and continuing down the west side of Winetavern St. to the quays.
In consultation with the Office of Public Works, nine sites along the route were selected for excavation. Additional excavation areas were undertaken within the allocated schedule of 20 weeks.
The work was jointly funded by Dublin Corporation and the Department of the Environment. The budget for the archaeological contract comprised almost one third of the total cost of the new sewer.
Excavation began on 26 March and continued to 20 July. Of the 240m long route on Patrick St., 71.5m was excavated, while at Winetavern St., where the route was 125m in length, excavation covered 51.5m of the line. Intermediate areas between the sites were archaeologically monitored until construction was completed in November 1990.
The results of the excavations are summarised as follows:
The re-routing of the Poddle River in Patrick St. was part of a complex of engineering works, comprising millraces and waterworks, which diverted and re-channelled the original river course from the later 12th century through to recent times. The west channel in Patrick St. was dug in the late 12th century (historical researchers have tended to ignore this area, and inferred a date in the mid-l3th century). Two levels of timber revetments, with oak baseplates and plank shuttering, were constructed along the edges of the river. The earliest of these, dated by dendrochronology to 1202 AD, overlay c. 1m of silts and refuse in the river channel. The revetments display similar carpentry techniques to those recorded at the early 13th-century structure at Wood Quay.
The site of a vertical undershot watermill - the Shyreclap Mill of St Patrick's - was uncovered during construction trenching, and several weeks were allowed for its excavation. The mill was built in the mid-l3th century.
The land grants are well documented - and rebuilt in the later part of the 14th century more or less to the same plan. The mill was the first Anglo-Norman example to be excavated in this country. It continued in use into the early 17th century. Up until its demolition in recent years, it was the site of St Patrick's and later, Kennedy's bakery.
Excavation at the north end of Nicholas St. revealed a sequence of features, relating to the construction of the town wall and moat in this area. A limekiln was constructed through a dump of redeposited clays interpreted as a counterscarp on the south side of the town ditch. This predated the channelling of the Poddle through this area in c. 1190 AD.
At the southern end of Patrick St., successive attempts in the later 12th century to contain flooding by constructing post and wattle fences on the banks of the Poddle proved unsuccessful. Despite this, a small hut with a stone-flagged hearth was built on the banks of the river. Later, 13th-century consolidation efforts with clay to raise the river banks were more effective, and a cobbled roadway and oak stave-lined tanning pit (doubtless part of a larger complex) date to this period.
Trenches at Winetavern St. uncovered the town wall, dated to c. 1100 AD, and a jetty or boardwalk dated to 1189 AD, which led towards the river's edge. One side of a dock, perpendicular to the River Liffey, was constructed from an oak baseplate, with vertical uprights to retain timber shuttering. This dates to the early 13th century, (1204 AD ± 9) and proves to be contemporary with the riverside revetment uncovered at Wood Quay by P Wallace, which was dated to 1210 AD. The dock was reconstructed in stone, perhaps when the quay wall along the Liffey was built c. 1300 AD.
Archival History ↴
Transferred by Claire Walsh to Dublin City Archives in February 2013
This collection contains archaeological excavation records from a site at Patrick Street, Winetavern Street and Nicholas Street, Dublin, excavated by Claire Walsh. Includes: registers, notebooks, context sheets, timber sheets, pottery sheets, reports, specialist reports, conservation records, correspondence, drawings, photographs and information on finds such as leather and small finds. Also slides containing images of photographs and site drawings. The collection also contains original inked drawings which were used in the publication of the excavation; these include site plans, sections, elevations and artefact drawings.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
Arranged according to document type.
Conditions of Access & Use
Available for public inspection.
Conditions Governing Reproduction
The terms of the Copyright and Related Acts (2000) allows DCLA to provide photocopies of material for research purposes only. Researchers wishing to publish will be obliged to write to Claire Walsh for permission to do so.
4 archive boxes; 2 slide boxes; plans
Material Language Script
Characteristics Tech Req
Slide viewer required
Box list available on DCAA database in Dublin City Library and Archive Reading Room
Archive Web Link →
C. Walsh 'Archaeological excavations at Patrick, Nicholas and Winetavern Streets' (Dingle 1997).
Database of Irish excavations reports, www.excavations.ie.
Descriptive Control Area
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.