Please join us for our spring lecture by Dr. Kieran O’Conor from the National University of Ireland Galway. The lecture, “The Deserted Anglo-Norman Town and Castle of Rindoon, Co. Roscommon, Ireland”, will take place at 6:30 on Thursday, March 15th in Rhode Island Hall 108, Brown University. We hope to see you there!
The deserted Anglo-Norman royal town and castle of Rindoon lies on a peninsula jutting out into Lough Ree – one of the great lakes of the Shannon River system that runs through central Ireland. It is regarded as one of the best examples of a deserted medieval town in the British Isles, as it only existed for just over a hundred years before its mainly English inhabitants deserted it in the early 14th century. This lecture, drawing on a recent multi-disciplinary study that included field survey, geophysics and an analysis of the surviving historical sources, will discuss each of the various elements that made up the town, particularly its multi-phase castle, and will argue that elements of what certain British archaeologists have called ‘an elite landscape’ occur at Rindoon. Furthermore, it is clear that this Anglo-Norman frontier fortress and town, trading with but also under military pressure from local Irish (Gaelic Irish) lords, was not founded on a green-field site in the early 13th century. Evidence from field survey, stray finds, geophysics, the available historical sources and aerial photography all suggest that there was an important pre-Norman settlement here. This is a fascinating complex that is now part of the rural tourism product offered by Roscommon County Council and attract more than 9,000 visitors a year. The lecture also offers insights into the relationship between the Anglo-Normans / English and the local Gaelic Irish during the 13th and early 14th centuries. Lastly, the talk will indicate how in times of recession, a relatively small research budget can achieve measurable academic results than can also be used by the local community for cultural tourism purposes.