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Appeal To Unlock Kinsale’s Battle Secrets

Appeal To Unlock Kinsale’s Battle Secrets

Writes JJ Hurley

As the boundary of Kinsale continues to grow as a result of its economic prosperity, fears persist that the historical record of the siege and of the town’s Battle of 1601 will be lost forever, according to archaeologist, Paul O’Keeffe.

Paul, along with Damien Shields, who are the only archaeologists to have carried out any significant work on what is a substantial site, are shortly hoping to exhibit their findings unearthed over the past 18 years of research; including pottery and lead bullets, some of which appear to have been chewed by soldiers on the battle field. Hence, the term ‘bite the bullet’.

Hamstrung by a lack of funding, the former classmates at University, have managed to cobble together enough financial resources to undertake a number of geophysical surveys and a series of metal detection surveys (carried out under licence).

The genesis for the project came from the encouragement of history professor Hiram Morgan at UCC – with financial assistance provided by Joe Carey, The Royal Irish Academy, Kinsale Town Council, and recently Kinsale History Society, coupled with Paul’s Masters in Geographical Information Systems and Damien’s Master’s qualification in Battlefield Archaeology the project has made progress, despite a lack of resources.

Already the work has achieved success, with Cork County Council acknowledging the significance of the battlefield site in its most recent development plan, as result of a submission from Paul and Damien.

Using the original maps drawn of the siege and subsequent battle, including the edition housed at Trinity College Dublin and Carew’s siege map, Paul employed computer generated technology to show the maps location of the siege works and camps tied in perfectly with their practical investigations on site.

While much of the works and investigations have been carried out by the men in their spare time – as Paul is employed as an archaeologist in a full-time capacity with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Damien, who is currently undertaking a PHD at Northumbria University, is also involved in Rubicon Heritage – a lecture hosted by Kinsale Historical Society, and delivered by Paul, as part of Heritage Week in 2016, revealed the significant progress of the men’s work to-date………


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