Panel Discussion on National Monuments Acts

We recommence our talk series on Monday 7 September at 7.30pm with a panel discussion on National Monuments Acts, with Ms Maeve Sikora (Keeper of Irish Antiquities, NMI), Mr Michael MacDonagh (Chief Archaeologist, NMS), Mr Sean Kirwan (Senior Archaeologist, NMS) and Ms Philippa Barry (Archaeologist, RSAI Joint Honorary General Secretary) as panellists. The discussion will be chaired by Mr Ian Doyle (Head of Conservation, The Heritage Council).

Please register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Please feel free to contact the office by phone or email if you have any questions.

Outing B: St Luke’s, The Coombe, Dublin 8 led by Mr Charles Duggan, DCC, and Mr Derek Tynan, DTA Architects

Outing B: St Luke’s, The Coombe, Dublin 8 led by Mr Charles Duggan, DCC, and Mr Derek Tynan, DTA Architects

Friday 16 October 2020: In November 2017, building contractors JJ Rhatigan completed a 13-month restoration and repurposing of a 17th century Huguenot Church on Newmarket Square, Dublin 8, into a three-storey modern office. The reconstruction works was carried out by DTA Architects in association with Carrig Conservation.

We will meet at 2.30 pm at Thomas Burgh House, Newmarket Square, Dublin 8.

Cost: €10

Please note: the charge for outings is non-refundable.

Outing B

CANCELLED: Outing A: Walking tour of Rathmines, Dublin 6 led by Mr Mr Séamas Ó Maitiú



Outing A: Walking tour of Rathmines, Dublin 6 led by Mr Mr Séamas Ó Maitiú

Saturday 28 March 2020: Mr Mr Séamas Ó Maitiú, historian, will take us on a tour of Rathmines, introducing some hidden treasures of the area.

We will meet at 11 am outside Church of Mary Immaculate, Refuge of Sinners, Lower Rathmines Rd, Dublin 6.


POSTPONED UNTIL JUNE 2021: Explorers’ Excursion to North/East Down — Ards Peninsula led by Prof. Jim McAdam

Explorers’ Excursion to East Down and the Ards Peninsula
with Prof Jim McAdam, RSAI Vice President for Ulster

25-27 June 2021

This year we are pleased to invite members who are interested in an active and outdoor excursion to take part in a three-day, two-night trip to a relatively unexplored part of Ulster: East Down and the Ards Peninsula around the shores of Strangford Lough and the Irish Sea.

This excursion is for independently-minded members as own transport (or carpooling with other members) is required throughout.

The current schedule for the three-day (two-night) excursion is as follows:

Day 1: We will meet in the small coastal village of Dundrum, just north of Newcastle Co Down, for lunch at 1pm. We will then visit Dundrum Castle, built by the Norman, John de Courcy after his invasion of Ulster in 1177. Following lunch, onwards to a fine example of a stone circle site at Ballynoe and some of the many St Patrick-related sites in the area. Members will continue to the picturesque village of Strangford to take their cars on the short ferry crossing across the Narrows of Strangford Lough to our destination at Portaferry, where we have been booked into the Portaferry Hotel and the nearby Barholm Hostel and The Narrows Guesthouse.

Day 2: The group will travel to a range of fascinating archaeological sites on the Ards Peninsula. These may include: the Late Neolithic cairn at Millin Bay on the Irish Sea coast; the motte and bailey and medieval church at Ardkeen; a fully restored grain windmill, typical of the agricultural heritage of the area; the Cistercian Abbey at Greyabbey (built by the wife of John de Courcy); the National Trust house and gardens at Mountstewart. We will return to the Portaferry Hotel for dinner.

Day 3: The final leg of the journey will take us around the shores of Strangford Lough to the early Monastic settlement at Nendrum via the Market Cross and Dominican Priory at Newtownards. Members can eat locally on the western shore of Strangford Lough and/or depart for Dublin at their leisure. If you are considering a longer stay in the area there is more to see and do and we will be happy to advise you.

As always, excursion programmes are subject to change due to weather and other circumstances. As this excursion will primarily take place outdoors please ensure that you have appropriate waterproof clothing and that you are prepared for walking.


You are kindly requested to book your own accommodation directly with the hotels.

Additional charge of €200 payable to the RSAI to cover the cost of: 1 dinner, 2 lunches, all entrance fees, gifts for speakers and guides and other administration costs.

We have reserved rooms in the following venues for the RSAI members:

The Portaferry Hotel
Address: 10 The Strand, Portaferry, Newtownards BT22 1PE, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 28 4272 8231

The Portaferry Hotel offers 15 rooms ranging in price from £280 to 340 for total stay (single, twin, double and family rooms) – a reduction of £20 per room will be offered on any single occupancy rooms.

Barholm Hostel
Address: 11 The Strand, Portaferry, Newtownards BT22 1PF, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 28 4272 9967

Barholm has 8 en-suite rooms available ranging in price from £45 to £75 per night.

The Narrows Guesthouse
Address: 8 Shore Rd, Portaferry, Newtownards BT22 1JY, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 28 4272 9967

The Narrows has 6 ensuite rooms available from £50 to £74 per night.

Barholm and Narrows Guesthouses are located within a minute walk from Portaferry Hotel.

Please make your booking directly with the hotels before informing the RSAI office of your booking.

Please note: the charge for excursions is non-refundable.

Explorers’ Excursion 2020

Autumn Excursion to Tullynally Castle and Fore Abbey, Co. Westmeath

We are now taking bookings for our Autumn Excursion, which will visit Tullynally Castle and the nearby Fore Abbey in County Westmeath.

The coach will depart from Society House at 9.30am sharp and go directly to Tullynally Castle, where we will stop for a short tea/coffee break. Afterwards, we will embark on a castle tour of the grand rooms and the Victorian servants’ quarters. The tour will include a meeting with a member of the Pakenham family who still reside in the castle.

Lunch will hosted in the Castle’s Tearooms. Following that, we will depart for a site visit to Fore Abbey. Our coach will return to Merrion Square by approx. 6pm.

The cost of the excursion is €60 for members and €65 for guests to include cost of coach, tours and lunch.

Please note: the charge for excursion is non-refundable.



Autumn Excursion 2020

**CANCELLED** Spring Excursion to Monksgrange House and Ferns, Co. Wexford



We are now taking bookings for our Spring Excursion to Monksgrange House and Ferns in Co. Wexford.

The coach will depart from Society House at 9.00am sharp. Upon our arrival in Ferns, we will have a short tea/coffee break before embarking on a tour of the historic townled by Mr Con Manning.

Following that, we will depart for Monksgrange House for a light lunch. Mr Jeremy Hill, Goddard Orpen’s grandson, will welcome us afterwards for a tour of the House and Monksgrange Archives. The Archives, in the ownership and care of the Edwards Richards-Orpen Memorial Trust, holds a large collection of personal and Estate papers, photographic images and collectables of the Richards and Orpen families of Counties Wexford and Kerry.

The cost the of excursion is €65 for members and €70 for guests to include cost of coach, tours and lunch.

Please note: the charge for excursion is non-refundable.


Research Symposium Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology Group

This seminar has been organised to present on-going archaeological research on the post-medieval period in Ireland. The invited speakers are all members of IPMAG, the Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology Group.


9.00                                 RSAI introduction

19.05                               IPMAG introduction (Franc Myles, Archaeology and Built Heritage)

19.10-19.30                  Nick Brannon: IPMAG at 20.

19.30-19.50                  Dr Connie Kelleher (Underwater Archaeology Unit, National Monuments Service):

Ireland’s post-medieval underwater cultural heritage.

19.50-20.10                 Dr Wes Forsyth (Ulster University): The archaeology of salt production in post-medieval Ireland.

20.10-20.45                Prof Audrey Horning (Queens University Belfast and College of William and Mary):

Archaeologies of identity in early modern Ireland.

20.45-21.00                  Closing comments.


Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology Group
Formed in Belfast in 1999, IPMAG’s inaugural conference was held in 2001 and has become the organisation’s key annual event. The conference is held every February at locations across the country and attracts a range of delegates from professional archaeologists to the general public. We have been delighted in the past to host the conference in conjunction with the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology (UK); and the Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement.
IPMAG seeks to promote amongst academics and the general public a greater understanding of Ireland’s post-1550AD archaeology, history and material culture. It also seeks to promote a holistic approach to this material by means of greater co-operation with persons working in related fields of study.
The aims of the group are:
• To undertake initiatives that will help raise the profile of post-medieval archaeology within Ireland.
• To foster greater contacts between those individuals engaged in researching the archaeology, history and culture of post- 1550 Ireland.
• To lobby for increased academic attention to be paid to the post-medieval period within Irish universities.
• To seek greater protection for post-1700s monuments under National Legislation in Ireland.
As well as hosting an annual conference and fieldtrip, IPMAG has been active in lobbying government departments and heritage agencies to recognise the value and importance of our post-medieval past. This has led to increased awareness in and the study of this aspect of Irish archaeology, which has been all the more recently emphasised in this era of commemorations and where key locations are integral to our understanding of events from our most recent historical past. IPMAG has published a number of significant books on Post-Medieval Archaeology, as part of its conference proceedings series of publications.

Dr Connie Kelleher is a member of the State Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) in the National Monuments Service (NMS), Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Connie is a graduate of UCC with an MA in maritime archaeology and a PhD from Trinity College Dublin, on the history and archaeology of piracy in Irish waters in the early-17th century. As a commercially trained diver, her work with the NMS is broad and focuses on the protection of Ireland’s underwater cultural heritage. She is visiting lecturer in the Archaeology Department, UCC; is past board member of the international Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (ACUA) and former council member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (RSAI). Connie was former chair and is current secretary of the Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology Group (IPMAG). Connie has published widely, with chapters in books and papers in peer reviewed journals; she has two books due for publication shortly: the co-authored RMS Lusitania: the Story of a Wreck (with F. Moore, K. Brady, C. McKeon & I. Lawler) and her own forthcoming The Alliance of Pirates: Ireland and Atlantic Piracy in the Early Seventeenth Century (Cork University Press).
Connie’s paper will consider Ireland’s underwater cultural heritage from the post-medieval period highlighting its diversity and importance within the context of a time period where Ireland was to witness fundamental change nationally but also influence and impact other nations internationally.
Prof Audrey Horning’s research centres on comparative colonialism and the relationship between archaeology and contemporary identity, with a particular focus upon European expansion into the early modern Atlantic world(s). Major archaeological fieldwork projects include directing excavations at Jamestown, Virginia (first permanent English New World settlement, 1607); on Plantation-period sites in Northern Ireland (Movanagher, Roe Valley/Limavady, Goodland); at the Slievemore Deserted Village, Achill Island, Co Mayo; and running a multi-year Survey of Rural Mountain Settlement in the Virginia Blue Ridge.. I am also collaborating on a National Endowment for the Humanities project entitled Colonial Encounters in the Chesapeake which is examining the early colonial engagements between Natives, Europeans, and Africans from an archaeological perspective. Recent publications have addressed future directions for historical and contemporary archaeology; integration of archaeology with conflict transformation; ethics and public engagement; incorporation of Native American perspectives on colonial histories; the anthropology of drinking in colonial settings; late medieval Gaelic Irish rural settlement; vernacular architecture in Ireland and Virginia; and the 20th-century archaeology of Appalachia. Audrey is an Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary and is Professor in the School of Natural and Built Environment, QUB.
Audrey will talk about the Dungiven costume, housed in the Ulster Museum, In April 1956, a farmer brought some remnants of clothing into the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery which a labourer had found during the removal of a peat wall on his farm. The clothing consisted of a large woollen semi-circular cloak, a woollen coat or jacket, tartan trews, and a leather belt and shoes. Audrey will discuss the examination of the costume that followed its discovery, which revealed possible links with the O’Cahan clan and suggested a production date of the first half of 17th century.
Dr Wes Forsythe is a maritime archaeologist and senior lecturer at Ulster University. His research is on coastal communities and their exploitation of marine resources in the medieval and post-medieval eras. His work is concerned with strategies for understanding and utilising the marine environment and their resulting effect on the coastal and intertidal landscape. He has worked across Ireland as a commercial archaeologist and for National Monuments Service; and as an academic has also conducted research on the coasts of North and East Africa.
Wes will be discussing the archaeology of salt production in post-medieval Ireland.
Nick Brannon studied Archaeology A-level at school. After graduating from Queen’s University he joined the Archaeological Survey, basically as a rescue archaeologist, directing over 50 excavations and publishing over 100 papers. In the 1990s he launched the Northern Ireland Monuments and Buildings Record and drafted the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995 and the NI Code of Practice for the UK Treasure Act 1996. He served as Director of Built Heritage, 1999-2002. He currently resides in Virginia, USA and in Co. Londonderry.