In 2014 Rubicon Heritage were commissioned by Cork County Council to undertake an audit of heritage assets owned by the County Council. The audit was intended to assess a wide variety of these properties by providing an overall background/description of the selected sites and identifying the main heritage characteristics and status/functionality of each. We have compiled a series of blogs based on the information gathered during the audit to highlight a number of the selected sites and the amazing archaeology in County Cork. Our next site is Caherduggan Castle.
The site of Caherduggan Castle is located in the townland of Caherduggan North, 3km west of the village of Doneraile on the R581. Works by Cork County Council to eliminate a dangerous bend in the R581 road between New Twopothouse and Doneraile revealed the remains of a medieval towerhouse with associated defensive works, including a revetted fosse. As the towerhouse remains were beneath a planned access road onto the 2km realignment, an alternative route was feasible and was subsequently designed, facilitating the preservation of the castle remains in situ. The peripheral areas of the castle site were subjected to full archaeological excavation in 2011.
The preserved footprint of Caherduggan Castle consisted of the four walls of the building, made up of a rubble core faced internally and externally with squared stone blocks. The remains of the north wall were the best preserved, measuring 14.4m in length and 2.4m wide. The first step of a possible intra-mural staircase was identified within the fabric of this wall. An entrance flagstone survived in the north-west corner of the building. The redesign meant that full excavation of the towerhouse was not necessary and following recording the site was carefully reburied and preserved.
The excavation of the peripheral areas of the castle produced archaeology from the prehistoric period through to the early modern period. A number of extremely significant finds were uncovered, including preserved medieval leather shoes, a medieval die and the only complete knightly medieval peytrel (horse harness) that is known from Ireland and Britain. The settlement evidence indicated that the castle served as a focal point for the area, and surrounding fields most likely conceal the remains of a deserted medieval village.
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