Staigue fort is one of a number of stone forts, related to ringforts and cahers, which have defensive features shared with Dún Aonghasa on the Aran Islands, and with Doon Fort and the Grianán of Aileach in Donegal. A number of these impressive forts on the Ring of Kerry can be found at the western end of the Ring of Kerry, including Loher, Cahergal and Leacanabuile. Staigue fort appears as a circular, dry-stone enclosure wall or rampart, surrounded by a fosse and external bank, with a causeway forming the entrance to the fort. The walls were constructed using internal and external faces of roughly coursed dry-stone masonry enclosing a rubble and fill wall core. The walls show an external and internal batter, so that they walls taper from approximately 4m wide at the base to 2m at the top. The single drystone entrance passage has three lintels, with the external lintel relieved by another lintel one course above. The interior of the fort has two wall-chambers, and a series of characteristic X-shaped stairways leading to the top of the walls – a feature also seen in stone forts of Donegal.
The Green Fort is a seventeenth century earthwork fortification in Sligo on the west coast of Ireland. The fort is an archaeological monument, and one with the highest level of legislative protection. Currently, a conservation plan is being developed to determine how best to protect, manage, interpret and present the site.
The Green Fort is the largest and strongest of three spear-shaped bastion forts erected in the seventeenth century to protect Sligo town. These forts were the still-extant Green Fort and Coney Island Fort, and the now-lost Stone Fort which lay beneath Sligo Town Hall . The Green Fort appears to have had two or possibly three stages of development, and then passed into a long three hundred year period of abandonment. Continue reading
Aerial photography, and increasingly aerial remote sensing data captured by satellite, provide a high-resolution view of the ground that can be relevant at all stages of an archaeological study, including reconnaissance, identification, analysis and, of course, as illustrations in a publication. Many new archaeological sites, especially those that survive as earthworks, have been discovered with the use of aerial photography, both from desktop studies of existing photographic records and from new reconnaissance. Aerial photography is also useful for Continue reading
This month sees the culmination of a research project investigating Irish romanesque stonework, kindly grant-funded by the Royal Irish Academy.
Romanesque is a term used to describe an artistic style of architecture, sculpture, metalwork and painting found across Europe from the 11th to the 13th century. In Ireland, ‘Hiberno-romanesque’ stonework includes architectural elements such as carved doorways, arches and windows, as well as Irish romanesque stone sculpture. Continue reading
Every now and then in the field of building conservation, a new treatment or solution is developed which shows great potential to solve problems. The treatments are tested under laboratory conditions to understand how they interact with materialsl, their working parameters, and sometimes how and when they fail. The next stage is application in real-life situations. Nano-limes have been around for over fifteen years, but there are relatively few technical and practical studies to draw on. This month sees the publication a case-study in the use of nano-lime technology in the Journal of the Buildings Lime Forum which considers the potential of the treatment as an alternative to repointing.
Nano-limes are very small particles of calcium hydroxide suspended in an alcoholic medium, developed as a calcium-based consolidant and initially presented for the conservation of wall paintings and frescoes, and later extended to calcareous stones such as limestones. Nano-limes are consolidants, and should be Continue reading
Historic places are a significant cultural asset, but there are barriers and challenges which make accessing some buildings and sites difficult or sometimes impossible. One of the key challenges in improving accessibility and preparing an access strategy and site-specific practicable solutions is to first assess the nature and extent of the place or places of architectural heritage and/or archaeological significance, and to identify what the challenges are. This project was focused on undertaking an accessibility audit of all the archaeological sites within a county area, to identify priority sites which could be used for education and for public awareness, and to suggest how access to those priority sites could be optimised and best presented to a general audience. Continue reading
Understanding the historical and/or archaeological significance of a place often entails drawing on a wide range of sources. While national and international libraries and online resources hold an ever-increasing wealth of research material , local sources often offer a unique resource and a unique perspective on historic places. In addition to studies published for County Kildare and Fingal, and a book on the study of Irelands maritime heritage, this research project explored the range of research material relating to the archaeological heritage of County Sligo. Continue reading
The aim of this project was to prepare a draft Conservation Management Plan for Kanturk Castle, Co. Cork, an Irish Renaissance palace, on behalf of An Taisce. The plan was to consider the key conservation issues affecting the castle, and also to investigate the issues and impact of tourism development. Conservation Management Plans provide an understanding of the significance and vulnerability of a place, and provide guidelines, together with a set of specific actions for the management of that place for future generations. They aim to balance responsibilities to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of a place with active and creative policies to facilitate access and protect its significance for now and into the future.
The existing literature and knowledge across many disciplines, including stone conservation and heritage management, is founded on an ability to react and adapt to changing situations, based on the knowledge and experience gained through past and current events. However, both reactive and anticipatory responses to threats to buildings are largely based on the premise that the past is the key to the future. predicted rapid changes in climatic conditions anticipated throughout the 21st century, results in a situation where past events can no longer be relied upon for driving future decision-making. Many of the established truisms and work practices of stone decay, cleaning and conservation may have to be amended, altered or abandoned when confronted with new challenges.
The existing stone conservation literature is too-often centered on understanding stone deterioration and providing appropriate solutions on a very simplisitic basis. Stone conservators are focused on solutions for ‘limestone’ problems and ‘sandstone’ problems, though these are very complex materials, containing sub-types of widely varying stone properties, durabilities, and responses to soiling and new environmental conditions. As the 21st century progresses, heritage professionals will see more complex interactions between stone decay and soiling processes and changing environmental conditions. There is a need for growing interaction between heritage professionals to respond to increasingly complex future architectural conservation problems. There will be a number of key shifts, which cannot currently be accurately quantified, but can be flagged as areas of concern. These include: Continue reading