Moygara Castle

Your field location

The site of the current IT Sligo Applied Archaeology training excavation is at Moygara Castle, located in the south of County Sligo, overlooking Lough Gara. The subject of considerable historical research and architectural analysis, including geophysical survey, over the last decade, small scale archaeological excavation has been underway since 2013.

The castle is a multi period construction, comprising 4 walls, 4 corner towers, the remains of a gatehouse, all from the 16/17th century and an earlier towerhouse (14th/15th century). Geophysical survey has revealed a number of anomalies both inside and outside the castle walls, including a pre castle, oval ditched enclosure, possibly contemporary with the towerhouse.


The castle is linked with the O’Gara clan, rulers of the area during much of the medieval period, although their is debate as to whether the main parts of the castle, walls, towers and gatehouse were built by the O’Garas or their English enemies in the 16th/17th centuries. The castle was besieged and partially destroyed by Cromwell in the mid 17th century.

The excavation over the last 3 field seasons have revealed parts of the earlier oval ditched enclosure (awaiting C14 date) and a possible iron smelting furnace outside the castle walls in addition to a number of features inside, including the walls, cobbling and fireplace of a large hall constructed against the west internal wall. It is planned to fully expose this hall in the 2017 field season.

For more information on Moygara Castle, please visit


The site of Kilteasheen is strategically located on the Boyle River and the shores of Lough Key in County Roscommon. It was a Medieval Gaelic ecclesiastical and military centre in the 12th-14th centuries, associated with the O’Conor kings of Connacht and the Bishop of Elphin.

Five seasons of excavation were directed by Chris Read, revealing a very early (13th century) Irish built Hall House, recorded in the annals as a Bishop’s Palace, the location of the 12th century parish church, and dozens of burials dating from the 7th to 14th centuries, including some unique deviant burials. Mixed in with the medieval remains were hundreds of prehistoric stone tools from the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age (3000BC to 1000BC), indicating the site’s continued importance over thousands of years.

Over 120 participants from Ireland, England, Germany, USA and Canada took part in the project over the 5 years.