Another Dublin city curiosity. I have passed this mound/barrow so many times and said to myself, if that's not a barrow then I'll never know what is. I've photographed it maybe 10 times, but to no great extent as I've never had the confidence to put it up here – try as one might but there is no mention of it anywhere that I can find, either in print or on the 'net (slight edit – wouldn't you know, it's on the national monuments database as a mound).
So imagine my surprise today as I brought my daughter to the playground nearby – there was the 'barrow' tightly surrounded by a temporary fence, with a mechanical digger not 10 metres from it and a woman in a hi-vis vest overseeing the operations.
I parked the car and headed over. I asked the woman what was going on. She said that works were underway to help with the drainage of this part of the park. It's the site of the popular, annual garden show 'Bloom' and the area has become flooded in recent years due to our great weather. Oh I see, said I, and why is that lump over there fenced off? Well that's a mound, says she, that could be very old. And are you an archaeologist, I asked. I am, she replied. So I took the plunge and said I was interested in that sort of thing and that for years I've believed it to be a prehistoric barrow. Well you just might be right, said she, but do you know the history of Ashtown Castle over there? Ah, I'm not really interested in that to the extent that I'm interested in this, says I, but thanks anyway, and off I headed.
So there you have it. An unmentioned barrow in the Phoenix Park where there have been other bronze-age burial finds.
Description: In a low-lying situation in grassland, on the former grounds of the Apostolic Nunciature. The site comprises a flat-topped mound, roughly circular in plan (diam. 19m; H 2.5m). There is an elongated, waterlogged hollow along the S section of the site that may have been a source for the mound material. Along the SE section of the mound is a rectangular block of granite (L 0.76m; Wth 0.56m; H 0.4m) with a socket on the upper surface that may have held a cross or sign.
Compiled by: Geraldine Stout
Upload date: 28 September 2011