Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Dig hopes to unearth secrets of Plantation

Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin
Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin

Organisers of an archaeological dig at a 17th century castle in Co Tyrone hope to uncover previously unknown evidence of the Ulster Plantation.

The Derrywoone fortification at Barons Court, Newtownstewart, is a beautiful four-storey building designed to impress as well as defend, experts said.

Nick Brannon, lead archaeologist, said: "It seems, however, that the threat from attack became a real concern in later years, as a large flanker tower with pistol loops was later built on to the castle to protect it."

It was constructed and occupied by the Hamilton family until 1922, after the earldom of Abercorn was granted to the Scottish family in 1606.

The castle survives as a large L-shaped house with a stair – a classic Scottish feature.

The building has large windows and the southern gable has an impressive chimney. The three-year project is funded by the Department for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said: "Three archaeological excavations, the Derrywoone excavation being the second, will focus on unearthing previously unknown evidence of the Ulster Plantation, with the aim of raising awareness and understanding of Ulster-Scots history, heritage and culture across the community."

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