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Dublin: 25°C Thursday 11 August 2022

12th Century graffiti art uncovered as part of medieval discovery in Dublin's Coombe

The discovery was made on Dean Street in The Coombe, west of Dublin city centre.


A HOTEL DEVELOPMENT in Dublin halted production last October when the remains of what appeared to be 12th century Irish structures were discovered, including an example of graffiti art carved onto a piece of slate.

The Hodson Bay Hotel Group are developing a 234 room hotel at the site on Dean Street in The Coombe, to the west of the city centre.

working shot with post and wattle houses on left

Archaeologists from Aisling Collins Archaeology Services (ACAS) were called in and found evidence of nine structures that are believed to date from as early as the 1100s.

Five of the structures appear to be dwellings with smaller outhouses accompanying them that likely housed animals, the archaeologists say.

They also found leather shoes, a wooden spoon and bowl, a copper alloy key and a range of other items.

12th c wooden spoon A preserved 12th Century wooden spoon Source: ACAS

The piece of slate displaying the graffiti depicts a figure on a horse with a shield and sword, alongside two birds. The slate was found to the rear of one of the houses.

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The archaeologists also discovered 13-14th century artifacts and structures, including jug handles and evidence of a pit used for the tanning of animal hides.

Johnny O’Sullivan, director of the Hodson Bay Hotel Group, said they planned to “celebrate the heritage of the discovery” in the hotel.

“A couple of ideas are being developed at the moment,” he said. Artwork and recreations of the items uncovered could be displayed in the finished building.

Excavation was completed this month and all finds – once verified – will go to the National Museum of Ireland.

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