Skeletal remains unearthed at castle

Date Published: 14-Feb-2013

BY CIARAN TIERNEY

The discovery of four skeletons in the vicinity of Terryland Castle this week has been described as a significant find which may be Galway’s answer to the unearthing of the bones of King Richard III of England two weeks ago.

Historians and scientists are excited by the find, on the northern side of the Quincentenary Bridge, and believe that the skeletons may be those of British troops who were killed during a skirmish with French and Irish forces at the historic castle in 1691.

Workmen made the discovery while constructing a wheelchair, pedestrian, and cycling access ramp between the Dyke Road and the N6 this week and work was suspended to allow archaeologists to undertake a full investigation of the site.

While the Terryland Castle has been in ruins for centuries, City Heritage Officer Jim Higgins told the Galway City Tribune yesterday that he was aware the site might carry historical significance for some time.

Records show that the fourth and fifth Earls of Clanricarde inhabited the castle in the 16th century and that Cromwell’s forces besieged the castle in 1625.

It was the scene of a battle between British troops and their French and Irish counterparts, who defended the castle, during the Williamite War in 1691. The skeletons discovered this week are believed to be those of British troops who died during the skirmish at Terryland.

“This could be as significant for Galway as the finding of the skeleton of Richard III in the car park in Leicester two weeks ago,” said Mr Higgins. “It’s a fantastic discovery for the city.

“A number of historic events took place at Terryland Castle and we now have a team of archaeologists examining the skeletons. We did expect to find something in the vicinity of the castle because it has been the scene of a number of historic events through the past four centuries.”

Galway City Council has already informed the National Museum, the National Monument Service, the coroner, and the Gardaí of the discovery, and comprehensive surveying of the site will take place from Monday.

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.