By Kim O’Leary
Several local councillors in Clondalkin village have called for construction on the convent site to be halted following a recent archaeological discovery.
The archaeological find is thought to be the ruins of a 500-year-old house in the vicinity of the Church and Convent, Clondalkin village where a nursing home is to be built.
Labour representative for the area of Clondalkin Chris O’Dwyer said: “Clondalkin is a historical village and has many sites such as the Round Tower and Tully’s Castle however, I dare say there are many more historical curiosities below the surface.
“There should be an immediate halt of construction so as to avoid causing damage to the structures below the surface. An independent archaeological report should be commissioned and be allowed to carry out further investigation,” said O’Dwyer.
Clondalkin village is well known for its many historical features including its eighth-century round tower which was built as part of the monastic settlement, and the village was founded by Saint Cronan Mochua.
In 2019 South Dublin County Council granted planning permission to Bartra Property (NH) Ltd to build a 155-bedroom room nursing home on the historical Presentation Convent Site, Convent Road in Clondalkin.
The four-storey building is to be built on lands to the south and west of the convent building itself. The land is owned by the Presentation Sisters religious order, which had maintained a presence in the area since 1857.
SDCC received dozens of submissions from different Clondalkin groups and individuals in relation to the proposed development, with objections being lodged in relation to the size and scale of the development, among other concerns.
Meanwhile Cllr Francis Timmons said that he has written to South Dublin County Council about the exciting archaeological discovery. “I have written to South Dublin County heritage officer, the conservation officer and the director of planning. Work needs to stop until this is at least fully investigated,” he said.
Talking to the Dublin Gazette about the archaeological discovery, Eddie Murphy, a spokesperson for Save Clondalkin Convent Campaign, said: “It appears to be the foundation of a building found on the historical map in 1791 and which disappeared later on other maps, it’s around 500 years old.
“We actually heard about it from one of our volunteers who was in the area and took a picture which we then put on social media. Unfortunately we don’t think they are going to stop construction on the site, and we’ve gotten in contact with the National Monuments Service who say they are going to record the discovery and that construction will most likely continue in the area,” he said.
A project spokesperson for Bartra said: “A licence for archaeological excavation was granted prior to work starting on the Clondalkin Nursing Home site. The archaeologists are independent consultants working fully to National Monuments Ireland (NMI) guidance and requirements.
“This archaeological team exposed some walls from a former structure on the site. The finding will be mapped and logged under NMI requirements.”
Meanwhile, South Dublin County Council said in a statement that the National Monuments Service is the department deciding on requirements so the on-site archaeologist will have to liaise with them directly in accordance with the conditions of the licence and the National Monuments Act.