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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Surveying Cottages at Glendalough in Ireland

Glendalough, miners cottages recently surveyed.
At the beginning of February the Metal Links archaeologist, Samantha Jones headed off to Glendalough in Ireland with Louise Barker, Royal Commission investigator. Glendalough, famous for its monastic remains, is also home to a number of mine sites that dot the valley side. The mountains were mined for lead and zinc from at least the 1790s up until the 1950s and as a result the area is littered with the remains of this past industry.

Our visit was at the request of the Glendalough mining heritage group, partners on the Metal Links project. Much of the mine complex at Glendalough has been surveyed by the group however there are remains of a number of miners cottages linked together via lanes and surrounded by field systems that have never been fully investigated. This was therefore the focus for our work.

On our first day we awoke to find it had been snowing throughout the night. Luckily this didn’t stop us and although bitterly cold we cracked on with the survey using both the total station and GPS equipment. Come spring the site will have disappeared beneath a dense covering of bracken, and thus a winter-time survey was essential. Over the two days, we collected all the information on the complex, together with sketches and photographs to help produce a series of plans back in the office.  The site and our survey will now form the focus of an event during County Wicklow’s Heritage Week in August, when it’s hoped that the local community will try their hand at surveying and also provide the Metal Links partners with valuable memories and information about the site.

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