The Columban monastery (ME017-044012-) is within a subcircular ecclesiastical enclosure (dims c. 350m E-W; c. 280m N-S), now fossilised in the curving street system outlined in part by Carrick, Castle, Cross, and Farrell Streets, the Fair Green at the W, and the line of the medieval town wall on the S and SW. There may have been an inner enclosure (dims c. 150m E-W; c. 80m N-S) around the graveyard, now marked by Church Hill on the N side and Canon St. on the S and extending as far as Church St. in the E (Simms and Simms 1990, 1-2, fig. 1). Support for this inner enclosure could be provided by medieval deposits in two ditches on a WNW-ESE line at the junction of Church St and Canon St. The W ditch (Wth 3.8m plus; D 0.8m plus) is separated by a deposit of subsoil (Wth of top 1.5m) from an E ditch (Wth of top c. 4m; max. D c. 1m), both of which produced a local Kells type pottery 13-14th century and tile fragments with evidence of smithing in both (P 5, 6). This was discovered in testing (10E0405) the length of Church St on the line of a water-main (Walsh and Bailey 2013; Walsh et al. 2017). It is possible that this enclosure was an ancient and abandoned Royal pagan site before it enclosed the monastery. (Swan 1998)
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of revised upload: 16 April, 2019Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.