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Watch Nial O’Neill’s archaeological excavation at Ballymoon Castle, County Carlow

Watch the footage of RIA Archaeological Research Excavation Grants scheme recipient Nial O’Neill’s research-led archaeological excavation surrounding Ballymoon Castle in Bagalstown, County Carlow.

In 2023, archaeologist Nial O’Neill was granted funding under the annual Royal Irish Academy Archaeological Research Excavation Grants scheme for his Ballymoon Castle Research Project in Bagalstown, County Carlow. The project’s aim was to find evidence of possible long last village that once surrounded Ballymoon Castle.

In spring 2024, Nial and his team began working on the site. As the intense excavation comes to a close around Ballymoon Castle, a lot of new information about the site has been uncovered ahead of all the analysis that has now to begin. This video explains the process and challenges of the excavation:

Transcript here

A native of Carlow, Nial O’Neill grew up near Ballymoon:

‘I grew up near here, I remember playing in this castle as a child, I always found it interesting. It was always the speculation around it, people would say it was never used. Which to me seems kind of, a little bit crazy in a way.’

‘From the early aerial photographs that I looked at it was clear that there was a lot of features in the fields around the castle.’

The production of the video was actioned by Carlow County Council as part of the Carlow County Heritage Plan. Permission to film in the vicinity of Ballymoon Castle (National Monument) was granted by the Office of Public Works and the landowner.

About the Archaeological Research Excavation Grants scheme:

The annual Archaeological Research Excavation Grants scheme is run by the Royal Irish Academy, together with the National Monuments Service. This is the only fund in Ireland which supports proposals for independent research excavation associated with the archaeology of Ireland and also includes pre-excavation surveys, post-excavation analyses, publication and archiving of RIA funded excavation. This longstanding fund has financed more than 100 excavations in Ireland, thus enabling scholars to make a substantial contribution to our knowledge of the past.

Image: Aerial image taken from the footage of Ballymoon Castle and its surrounding areas, produced by Carlow County Council