Saturday 20 October 2018

Heatwave reveals St Oliver Plunkett's lost home

Dermot Fenton of Loughcrew Gardens at the site believed to be the family home of St Oliver Plunket in Co Meath. Photo: Seamus Farrelly
Dermot Fenton of Loughcrew Gardens at the site believed to be the family home of St Oliver Plunket in Co Meath. Photo: Seamus Farrelly

Louise Walsh

Another archaeological find - believed to be the childhood home of St Oliver Plunkett - has been uncovered by the heatwave.

The National Monuments Service has confirmed it has been contacted about a historic discovery in Co Meath.

In recent weeks, a number of crop marks at sites across the Boyne Valley have been revealed because of the dry weather.

The outline of a house, containing three large and four smaller rooms, with a pathway leading to the church in the grounds of Loughcrew Estate became apparent during the prolonged spell of dry weather recently.

St Oliver Plunkett grew up on the estate but the precise location of the house was unclear, although it is mentioned in the civil survey of 1612.

The possibility of the site being his ancestral home has excited the estate's owner, Emily Naper.

Ms Naper is a direct descendant of the saint and martyr who was canonised in 1975 and whose head is on display in St Peter's Church in Drogheda.

"I'm not an archaeologist by any means but it's a fair assumption that this is the house," she said.

Ms Naper hopes the site will be examined, dated and verified.

It first came apparent during a previous drought and noted by the estate's resident poet Peter Fallon.

The National Monuments Service will assess the monument report against known heritage records for the Loughcrew area.

Irish Independent

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