Journal Volume 1 1992

Chairman's Report - March, 1991

In the past year the Society has run a number of events, including lectures, outings, the Young Historian of the Year competition for Primary School students, and has hosted the Spring Seminar of the Federation of Local History Societies.

We must measure our successes against our constitutional aims and in this respect I feel that we are growing more effective.

Our first aim is to preserve and protect sites of archaeological and historical interest in the North Wicklow area, and at present there is an ongoing campaign to preserve the site of St. Crispin's Cell and its environs from housing development. This campaign was initiated by the Grove Residents Association last autumn and initially they approached us to enlist our help. I was asked to speak at their first public meeting on 17 Sept. 1990 held in the La Touche hotel and give a summary of the history of the site. In my talk I suggested that the site probably dated back to the Bronze Age, but it now seems that it dates even further back, into the Stone Age. Due to the incessant rain of the past weeks, large sections of the cliff have fallen down on to the North Beach and Stone Age artefacts are reported to have been found in this landslide. If these finds are confirmed, then we have indeed got a remarkable site on our doorstep which may be of national importance.

We were also asked to make a submission to An Bord Pleanala regarding the proposed development and, in our submission, we stressed the need for three specific archaeological tests to carried out. These tests are:- Phosphate analyses, which indicates areas where human activity occurred; a resistivity survey which indicates areas in which archaeological features are likely to be found , and testing by magnetometer which shows where fires have been sited in the past.

We also made the Bord aware of the historical report about Col. Tarrant burying the remains of all the corpses which he had disinterred while razing the graveyard, in a mass grave, and suggested that, as a matter of priority, this mass grave should be located and excavated, so the remains can once more be laid to rest observing the appropriate religious rituals, and that the headstones should be recovered and recorded.

These examples illustrate our commitment to our primary aim and I am certain that as time progresses we will gain more knowledge, experience and expertise in protecting and preserving sites.

The second aim of the Society is to gather and record information pertaining to local archaeology, genealogy and history and to publish this information regularly. We still have not published anything but we decided to address this problem in a very straightforward way. We are going to ask the people who lecture the Society for their permission to publish their lectures, along with brief reports of our activities throughout the year and the winning entry from the Young Historian of the Year competition, in order to have an annual publication. We already have the agreement of Mr. Seamus O Saothrai to permit us to publish his recent lecture, which should ensure the success of our first publication.


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