Sunday, July 08, 2018

Large turnout to Dun Ailinne Open Day

Up to 150 people turned out on Dun Ailinne outside Kilcullen today to hear those on the archeological 'dig' explain the background and what they were finding, writes Brian Byrne.

It was a beautiful day on the former 'royal' site, which has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage status as part of the cluster of 'royal sites of Ireland' along with Cashel, the Hill of Uishneach in Co Westmeath, the Rathcrogan complex in Co Roscommon, and Tara in Co Meath.

Dr Susan Johnston of George Washington University, and Professor Pam Crabtree of New York University have spent the last month working on the Kilcullen site with a group of trainee archaeological students from the United States.

It is the second such physical excavation on the location in recent years, following a number of summers doing non-invasive investigations using magnetometer techniques.

Dr Johnston and Professor Crabtree have been expanding on the original excavations in the 1960s/1970s under the direction of the late Professor Bernard Wailes. A number of the local people who worked on that original 'dig' were present today on the hill.

Dun Ailinne, or Knockaulin in its Anglicised name, is on private land owned by the Thompson family, and is normally not accessible to the public. The family gave permission for today's Open Day, for which Dr Johnston thanked them.

A donation of €5 per person taken at the gate is being given to the Friends of St Brigid's Hospice.

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