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First Findings At Swords Castle

An artefact found during the dig at Swords CastleAn artefact found during the dig at Swords Castle

On Saturday 20th February, Fingal County Council, presented the first results from its community archaeology programme at Swords Castle – Swords Castle: Digging History. A range of experts presented findings from the month long dig which took place in August and September 2015.
Opening the seminar to a packed audience, County Mayor , Cllr. David O’Connor said “It’s wonderful to see new information about the history of Swords Castle coming from our community dig last year. The enthusiasm here underlines the great success of this initiative and the importance of the Castle for the people of Swords and Fingal generally”.
Speakers included archaeologist Christine Baker who designed and led Swords Castle: Digging History. Christine commended the input of over 100 volunteers in the success of the project, a highlight was the finding of two medieval floor tiles, which indicates the high-status of Swords Castle as a residence of the Archbishop of Dublin. Other finds from the excavation included over 6000 fragments of animal and fish bone, shows that the Castle was an important centre for food preparation.
The food theme was also reflected in the presentation by Dr. Meriel McClatchie who analysed seeds and grains from the site. Meriel emphasised the quantity of this material recovered which suggests that wheat and other crops were being brought to the Castle from the surrounding rich agricultural lands and processed in large quantities. This is not surprising because, as an Archbishops’ residence, the Castle was the administrative headquarters for much of the commercial and social activity in the town and surrounding countryside.
Archaeologist Siobhan Duffy revealed many of the small finds from the site which included an interesting collection of clay pipes. Pipes dated from the late 17th or early 18th century right up to the late 19th century from a variety of manufacturers in Dublin and beyond. Siobhan highlighted a fragment from a very small clay pipe which she suggested was made for children to blow bubbles! Dr. Linda Lynch then discussed human remains from the site and how archaeologists use these finds to give us valuable information about how people lived and died in medieval Swords.
Finally, County Architect, Fionnuala May discussed the Council’s future plans for the Castle and emphasised the importance of the community excavation in adding to our knowledge of the site and assisting in the future development of the Castle.
For further information on Swords Castle, Digging History please contact Gerry Clabby, Heritage Officer; email heritage@fingal.ie