independent

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Researching Vinegar Hill

Published 24/12/2013 | 05:30

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Vinegar Hill sign

A three-year programme of archaeological, historical and geographical research is being planned for Vinegar Hill.

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A three-year programme of archaeological, historical and geographical research is being planned for Vinegar Hill.

An outline of the 'Longest Day' project won a warm response from town councillors when they were briefed by 1798 centre manager Jacqui Hynes.

Ms. Hynes indicated that she is keen to be out on the hill in her wellington boots carrying out the field work as soon as possible. Her €50,000 proposal won unanimous backing from the elected members of Enniscorthy Town Council who made it clear that they are interested in understanding and promoting the historic hill.

In her report to the Town Council, Ms. Hynes indicated that little or no professional research has taken place on the ground into the last major battle to be fought on Irish soil. The planned programme will attempt to work out precisely where rebel and Crown forces were deployed in June of 1798.

The intention is to work out the extent of the battlefield, the layout of the rebel camp, the exact sequence of the fighting and the line of retreat taken by the rebels. Ms. Hynes suggested that the work has the potential to put Enniscorthy in the vanguard of Irish battlefield research.

While a desk-bound trawl through the archives is part of the 'Longest Day', the most exciting feature of the initiative will be the archaeological exploration of Enniscorthy's best known landmark.

Jacqui Hynes was at pains to point out that disturbance of the ground will be kept to a minimum as her team look for reminders of battle and possibly mass graves.

Rather than resorting to intrusive spadework, it is intended to deploy LINSDAR, a laser powered technology which means that digging will be kept to a minimum. Similarly, techniques using magnets will be used to explore history without any need to dig.

Local staff working at Enniscorthy Castle or the 1798 centre will be backed by expertise from Wexford County Council, the Office of Public Works.

'Vinegar Hill is close to all our hearts,' was the reaction of Cllr. Keith Doyle, his sentiment echoed by Cllr. Frank O'Connor: 'You are never home until you see Vinegar Hill.'

Enniscorthy Guardian

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