Der­mot McMur­rough halts road works

Jan­uary 1985

New Ross Standard - - NEWS -

The ma­jor road im­prove­ment works un­der way on the N30 be­tween Scarke and Ballyanne have been halted, be­cause in the way of the pro­posed new road lies what is pos­si­bly the fort of Der­mot McMur­rough, King of Leinster in the 12th cen­tury.

The road im­prove­ments, which got un­der­way at Ballyanne last Au­tumn, were halted just be­fore Christ­mas. An ar­chae­ol­o­gist from the Of­fice of Pub­lic Works is to visit the site this week, to de­ter­mine if the mound known as McMur­rough’s Is­land, which lies di­rectly in the path of the pro­posed new road, is of his­toric value.

Mem­bers of the New Ross His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, who want the site pre­served, should it be the re­mains of McMur­rough’s fort, be­lieve it also could be the site where McMur­rough en­ter­tained the founders of New Ross, Wil­liam Mar­shall and his wife Iso­bella, and pos­si­bly Strong­bow and Eva.

There is spec­u­la­tion also that McMur­rough’s Is­land, which is marked as a ring fort in old maps of the area, could have been the lo­ca­tion of the fa­mous con­fronta­tion be­tween the Ir­ish chief­tains and the Nor­mans, shortly af­ter their in­va­sion of Ire­land.

Mem­bers of the lo­cal his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety say that records sug­gest that McMur­rough’s Is­land could eas­ily be the lo­ca­tion of these his­toric events.

A spokesper­son for the so­ci­ety added, how­ever, that there is no firm ev­i­dence to prove these sto­ries, but the pre­cau­tions are be­ing taken so that a po­ten­tially in­valu­able his­toric site is not de­stroyed. ‘All we want to do at this stage is pre­vent an­other Wood Quay,’ the spokesper­son said.

‘When we saw that the mound and moat were marked out on the track of the new road, and would prob­a­bly have been cleared away early in the New Year, it was im­por­tant to stop the de­vel­op­ments, and get our sto­ries checked out.’

The Of­fice of Pub­lic Works is un­der­stood to have no­ti­fied Wex­ford Co. Coun­cil shortly be­fore Christ­mas, and an ar­chae­ol­o­gist is to check the site this week.

The His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety spokesper­son added that it was sad to see that the old fish mar­ket at the quay in New Ross had been ‘de­stroyed’ by the Ur­ban Coun­cil with­out any towns­peo­ple be­ing no­ti­fied.

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