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Workers find 1,000-year-old underground passage in Kerry

Published 03/04/2015

The passageway was found in the Caha Mountains on the West Cork-Kerry border
The passageway was found in the Caha Mountains on the West Cork-Kerry border

An eighth century underground passage has been found in Kerry while roadworks on the Caha Mountains were being carried out.

The passage, described as a significant archaeological find that is at least 1,000 years old, was found by a digger when a ditch was moved during roadworks on the N71 Kenmare to Bonane Road.

Senior archaeologist with the National Roads Authority, James Eogan told Radio Kerry that the souterrain, an underground passage with chambers, was likely used for storage of food or as a temporary refuge.

"The roadworks literally only clipped the very end of it," he said.

"The chambers and passages extend away from where we’re undertaking the road construction project. So that means that the site won’t need to be excavated. It can be preserved in situ," he told Radio Kerry.

"“This one is interesting as people had not previously known about it and it shows there was a settlement in the area in the 8th to 10th century period."

The souterrain was being assessed by an archaeological team but it won’t be accessible to the public.

“It won’t be accessible... It’s not the sort of site you could bring people to show them because it’s fairly small and hazardous enough.”

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