Skeletons found at Terryland Castle: Galway’s Richard III?

Skeletons have been found in Galway. Could this be Galway’s Richard III scenario? Eileen Cameron reports…

City Heritage Officer Jim Higgins on the site near Oldcastle, Terryland yesterday where the skeletons of four Williamite soldiers were discovered. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

City Heritage Officer Jim Higgins on the site near Oldcastle, Terryland yesterday where the skeletons of four Williamite soldiers were discovered. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Evidence of Galway’s turbulent past came to light earlier this month at Terryland when a number of skeletons were unearthed during construction works beside the 17th-century castle.

The remains of at least three individuals were discovered during archaeological monitoring of works to construct an access ramp from the Dyke Road to The Quincentennial Bridge.

Although the present castle dates to the 17th century, there may have been an earlier structure on the site, with mentions of a fording point on the river in the 16th century.

Galway City Council Heritage Officer, Dr Jim Higgins described the find as a “fantastic discovery for the city” and suggested it “could be as significant for Galway as the finding of the skeleton of Richard III in the car park in Leicester.”

Dr Higgins went on to say; “A number of historic events took place at Terryland Castle and we now have a team of archaeologists examining the skeletons. We did expect to find something in the vicinity of the castle because it has been the scene of a number of historic events through the past four centuries.”

The castle is mentioned during the Cromwellian Wars in 1652 and later the Williamite Wars of 1691.  The bones could be the remains of soldiers involved in either of these skirmishes.

Alternatively, records indicate that the fourth and fifth Earls of Clanricarde inhabited the castle in the 16th century and there may have been a chapel at the site. Therefore, the remains could belong to members of the Clanricarde family.

The bones are now being excavated and they will be examined by an osteoarchaeologist to try determine how and when they died.

Photo via galwaynews.ie.
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