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Archaeology

There are more than 120,000 monuments on the Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) for Ireland. There are approximately 7,500 identified monuments in County Clare. Currently, 3235 of these monuments are on the Register of Historic Monuments. Nationally there are circa 740 monuments, (about 5% of total), in state care, which are managed by the National Monument Service (OPW). There are 37 such monument sites in County Clare. Recorded Monuments regarded as National Monuments, are considered of national importance by reason of historic, archaeological traditions, artistic or architectural interest. The County Clare Inventory of Archaeology is ongoing. Examples of all categories of archaeology are preserved in Clare. 

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government have produced the leaflet below on our legacy of ancient monuments:

County Clare is recognized nationally for its archaeological significance, with many large and well-recognized sites. The Discovery Programme revealed a wealth of archaeology in the mud flats of the Shannon Estuary.

Some areas of the Burren have remained relatively unchanged since the impact of the first farmers, some 6000 years ago; therefore, preserving a prehistoric landscape largely unchanged over time. The vast number of archaeological sites alone in the Burren make it of international importance, with 300 recorded Fulacht Fiadh, early cooking places, 450 ring forts and the densest concentration known of wedge tombs in Ireland. Many more sites have yet to be located and recorded. The Burren is being investigated as a possible world heritage site. It is also being investigated as a possible a geo-park. Today's farmers continue the tradition of preserving much of the landscape in Clare. There co-operation and understanding contribute to the conservation and preservation of archaeological monuments and their settings. 

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development created the booklet below:

Given the wealth of archaeological heritage in County Clare there is a clear need to enhance its protection, increase awareness of its value and make it accessible to the public. The preservation and protection of archaeology is paramount, as is the awareness of the value of archaeology. It is the policy of the council to protect and preserve archaeological sites that have been discovered since the publication of the Record of Monuments and Places. The council shall revise and update their records in light of new discoveries; thereby, preserving monuments and sites discovered since the publication of the Record of Recorded Monuments. 

The leaflet below is a guide to understanding the procedures involved when proposing to carry out development work which might affect our archaeological heritage. It is intended as a practical guide and is not a legal interpretation of the legislation referred to:

The importance of communication, delivering the education message to all the stakeholders and information to landowners and future generations is highlighted. 

A Field Monument Adviser Scheme has been employed by Clare County Council under the Heritage Plan Actions. This scheme allows for an archaeologist to visit landowners and advise them about the monuments on their lands. 

Objectives highlighted for archaeology in the Clare Heritage Plan:

No development shall be permitted within a distance deemed inappropriate to the recorded monument and all possible measures shall be taken to protect such structures and their visual appearance on the landscape. The council shall safeguard archaeological sites of value, their setting and monuments as listed in the Record of Monuments and Places. In assessing proposals for development the council shall have due regard to national policies, guidelines and comments of Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in respect of the preservation of all sites of archaeological value. The council will ensure that all archaeological monuments in the plan area will be recorded, surveyed and conserved so that any future development schemes will be designed to minimise their impact upon the archaeological heritage of the area.

Advertise procedures for registering newly found archaeological sites

  • It is proposed to make records of past Clare excavations available
  • It is an objective to display excavated material locally.
  • It is an objective to improve access to archaeological sites and create heritage trails in the county
  • It is an objective to promote best practice in graveyard management. See the Heritage Council's guide - Guidance for the Care, Conservation and Recording of Graveyards [PDF, 7.27MB]

Useful references

  • www.archaeology.ie
  • Department of Environment Heritage and Local Government  
  • Monuments Database
  • The Other Clare - Annual Journal of Shannon Archaeological and Historical Society
  • "Mooghaun" - Discovery programme publication
  • Rian na Manach - A Guided Tour of Ecclesiastical Treasures in County Clare
  • The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland, John Waddell, Galway University Press
  • Medieval Ireland an Archaeology, Tadhg O’Keeffe, Tempus Press
  • Early Christian Ireland, T.M. Charles-Edwards, University of Oxford 

Contact Details

Risteard UaCróinín, 
Architectural Conservation Officer,
Clare County Council,
New Road,
Ennis.
Phone: (065) 6846407
Mobile: (087) 2905122
Email: ruacroinin@clarecoco.ie

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Page last updated: 16/04/09