Dermot McMurrough halts road works
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.