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Bishop's Seat Monastic Settlement
 

County

Roscommon

Coordinates

N 54° 00' 05.58"   W 008° 12' 03.84"

Nearest town

Boyle

Grid Ref.

G 86817 05832

Map No.

33

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

57

Date of visit

Saturday 8 June 2019

GPS Accuracy (m)

4
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The remains of the building seen from the west-southwest.


We had seen this place before, but I thought it was something so insignificant that wasn't worth mentioning it. Furthermore, on our previous visit it was raining and the place looked duller than it is.
I thought to give the place a second chance.

On a land north of Boyle River, a few metres before it flows into Lough Key, there's a site of a particular interest, being it an ecclesiastical settlement since the 7th century, though it was of importance in the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. The site was mentioned even in the Annals of Lough Key and Annals of Connacht.

What I saw here is the outline of a ruined building, with the highest walls on the northwest side. This should have been a century hall house built in 1253 by Tomás Ua Conchobair, Bishop of Elphin, who was cousin of Feidlim Ua Conchobair, King of Connaght. Feidlim was also the founder of the Roscommon Priory, where he's buried.

Excavations in 2005 revealed a cemetery south of this building with nearly 150 burials which, from the skeleton analyses, were of medieval peasants. One of the grave slabs found in the cemetery dates to the 12th century and was originally part of an earlier church on the site.
The survey at the site, carried out by professors of Sligo IT and St. Louis University (USA) also recovered hundreds of artefacts from medieval times, as well as traces of the use of the place in prehistoric times.


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