An archaeology of southwest Ireland, 1570–1670

Colin Breen

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ISBN: 978-1-84682-040-3
June 2007. 240pp; ills.

The 17th century was a period of significant political and religious upheavals and was also a formative period in terms of landscape and settlement development throughout Ireland. This book examines Munster from an historical archaeology perspective. In particular the study sets the archaeological context of these developments against the historical background of plantation, Cromwellian intervention and economic expansion.

Important developments in rural settlement occurred with a network of agricultural and trade settlement clusters being established or re-developed. The landscape was also physically changed through new patterns of ownership, enclosure and intensification of rural practice. Much of this was related to a large expansion in agricultural and fishing activity resulting in significant investment in port and marine communication facilities. Industry was an important component of these developments and the Munster landscape retains many traces of these industries including iron and charcoal works. Finally the role of the churches is examined in the context of these changing times.

Colin Breen is a lecturer in maritime and historical archaeology at the University of Ulster, Coleraine, and the author of The Gaelic lordship of the O’Sullivan Beare (2005).