Continuing with how we can view our archaeology and built heritage through the maps using the Historic Environment Viewer link on The National Monuments website, it is possible to find archaeological features via town-land or by feature.
For instance, a search for ecclesiastical enclosures in County Waterford returns 27 results. Ecclesiastical enclosures are oval / roughly circular or “D” shaped areas, defined by banks and external ditches or dry stone walls. These sites are quite large, usually over 50m in diameter and enclose early medieval churches or monasteries . The enclosures date from the 5th-to the 12th centuries AD.
Ardmore Cathedral is considered one of the oldest Christian settlements in Ireland, having been founded by St. Declan in 416 AD, prior to St. Patrick’s arrival in 432 AD . The archaeological remains at the site range in date from the Early Medieval period. The large monastic enclosure encompasses St. Declan’s oratory, the graveyard, the Cathedral and iconic round tower.
Very little is known of the later history of the ecclesiastical centre. The only date recorded in connection with the cathedral is 1203 AD, when historic texts note that the building of the church in Ardmore was finished. Ardmore was recognised as a diocesan centre between 1170 and 1210, after which time the diocese was united with Lismore and the church became parochial.
In 1642, the Cathedral and round tower were besieged but the chancel of the cathedral continued in use as a church until 1838, when the present Church of Ireland church was built and the font from the Cathedral was transferred to its present location.
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