The Avondhu - By The Fireside
From 1990 to 1993, Mercer University in Georgia USA sponsored archaeological surveys in Mogeely and Curraglass. The settlement in Mogeely is particularly interesting because it is depicted on the earliest estate map in Ireland, which is now in the National Library of Ireland. It covers land that Sir Walter Raleigh leased to Henry Pyne. This colourful map was made in 1598, a copy of which hangs on the wall in Conna Sports Complex.
Looking at the details of the Raleigh map of Mogeely, it is difficult to compare it to the present-day layout because it appears that the line of the road through Mogeely Castle estate was altered when the field boundaries were changed, around the turn of the 19th century.
On Raleigh’s lands, it is clear that English settlers built compact villages, with adjacent fields. Unfortunately, the archaeological investigation was hampered by the fact that much of the Mogeely vicinity was extensively quarried since the map was made.
Outside Mogeely Castle, the Elizabethan settlers built Englishstyle houses around a village green. Excavations confirmed the map’s accuracy by locating one of these houses, identified as a timber-frame construction upon a low foundation wall of mortared stone. The large field across the road from Mogeely Cemetery had a particularly high concentration of settlers’ houses.
The items recovered in 1991 from Mogeely Castle reveal a few medieval potsherds and larger numbers of typical 18th and 19th century English manufactured wares (delft, salt-glazed, creamware, pearlware, etc.). A hard-fired red fabric with a green/brown lead glaze dominated the collection.
At nearby Curraglass, house plots were set at regular intervals along the sides of the T-junction. Although the road system has survived, modern farming, unfortunately, removed all trace of the houses, leaving only the occasional Elizabethan potsherd.
A hamlet of English houses also appeared in Carrigeen; they replaced most of the native houses that formed a settlement there. Excavations in 1992-93 confirmed the location of the hamlet dwellings, uncovering interior and exterior