Archaeology is the study of past societies through the examination of material remains left by human activity. County Longford has a rich and varied archaeological heritage.
Under The Heritage Act, 1995 an archaeological monument is defined as:
Including the following, whether above or below the surface of the ground or the water and whether affixed or not affixed to the ground:
- any artificial or partly artificial building, structure or erection or group of such buildings, structures or erections,
- any cave, stone, or other natural product, whether or not forming part of the ground, that has been artificially carved, sculpted or worked upon or which (where it does not form part of the place where it is) appears to have been purposely put or arranged in position,
- any, or any part of any, prehistoric or ancient - tomb, grave or burial deposit, or ritual, industrial or habitation site,
- any place comprising the remains or traces of any such building, structure or erection, any such cave, stone or natural product or any such tomb, grave, burial deposit or ritual, industrial or habitation site, situated on land or in the territorial waters of the State, but dies not include any building, or part of any building, that is habitually used for ecclesiastical purposes.
Under the Heritage Act, 1995 Archaeological Objects are defined as:
"Any chattel whether in a manufactured or partly manufactured or an un-manufactured state which by reason of the archaeological interest attaching thereto or of its association with any Irish historical event or person has a value substantially greater than its intrinsic (including artistic) value, and the said expression includes ancient human, animal or plant remains."
Record of Monuments and Places
The National Monuments and Historic Properties Service, carries out the Archaeological Survey of Ireland. All known sites and monuments are identified and listed for protection in the Record of Monuments and Places, a statutory inventory of sites protected under the National Monuments Acts.
The Record of Monuments and Places is a set of 6" maps of County Longford with an accompanying index which shows all the sites, monuments and zones of archaeological potential, recorded to date and protected in the county. The inventory concentrates on pre 1700 AD sites.
The Record of Monuments and Places is available to the public at the Planning Office, Heritage Office and Libraries of Longford County Council.
Before Carrying out works to or within the vicinity of a Recorded Monument
Archaeological heritage is a non-renewable resource. Under Section 12 (3) of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994 monuments and places included in the record are protected as follows:
"When the owner or occupier (not being the commissioners) of a monuments or place which have been recorded under subsection (1) of this section or any person proposes to carry out, or to cause or permit the carrying out of, any work at or in relation to such monument or place, he shall give notice in writing of his proposal to carry out the work to the Commissioners, commence the work for a period of two months after having given the notice"
This notice shall be sent to the National Monuments and Historic Properties Service, Dún Sceine, Harcourt Lane, Dublin 2. Telephone 01-4117100.
Only a small section of our ancient monuments are in state ownership. The remainder are protected by the state under the National Monuments Acts but the care and preservation of these features depends largely on the interests and respect of the individual landowner.
Viewing the Record of Monuments & Places online
The National Monuments Service maintain the Record of Monuments and places on their Historic Environment Viewer, which is an online digital mapping system. Archaeological sites are represented as red dots, and there are the options to search by location, monument type or a known monument number. There are also options to view high-quality aerial mapping and historic Ordnance Survey maps on this website. The blue dots represent entries on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage
During 2005 an extensive survey of all graveyards with upstanding remains were carried out by Jimmy Lennon in conjunction with the County Longford Heritage Office. Further Details on the project is available at : Graveyards
The National Museum of Ireland is the repository of the national collection of archaeological objects. As there is no county museum or designated repository in County Longford all archaeological objects that are discovered should, by law, be deposited with the National Museum, as they belong to the State. (Under the National Monuments Amendment Act 1994) When an item is found, you should contact the National Museum within 48 hours. Tel 01-6777444.