The National Survey

The project aims to identify and visit sites of coastal salt production across the entire island of Ireland. This is the first thematic survey of salt working to be undertaken by Irish archaeologists. This will assess the extent to which these sites survive, and attempt to establish a field signature for salt working. It will also attempt to identify any associated shoreline features or infrastructure. We will be concentrating primarily on post-medieval sites in the first instance, but will be visiting sites that have the potential to inform us about earlier periods with the aim of developing ongoing strands of research in this field. The national survey will be carried out in Spring 2014/15 after the initial desktop phase, which will explore maps, documentary sources, aerial photography and existing surveys and reports to identify potential sites.

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3 responses to “The National Survey

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed Wes Forsythe, Rosemary McConkey and Colin Breen’s article ‘Salt of the earth, salt of the sea’ in the current issue of Archaeology Ireland,and notice that a salt pan included in the Fig.2 at Arklow, but can find nothing related to it on this website. I take it that it refers to Chapel Hogan at Arklow Rock, a salt pan established by the Cistercians of Baltinglass Abbey. I wondered if you had more details relating to this important part of Arklow history.

    • Many thanks for your kind words, the site of Arklow’s pans would indeed appear to be in the vicinity of Arklow Rock, however the whole area has now been disturbed by quarrying activity. Another possibility might be Abbeylands, now largely urbanised. The sources that indicate it once existed are general only (Archdall etc.). I’m sorry we could not add more to what seemed to be an important early site, the references to a ‘salt pit’ if taken literally hold out the tantalising prospect of a geological source for salt in the area – this would have been both rare and valuable.

      • Thanks for that. I think it is where the offices of Roadstone quarries now are. The source of the salt was sea-evaporation and appears to have been where the Cistercians of Baltinglass abbey sourced their salt (or at least some of it). When the pan closed (probably with the dissolution of the monasteries) the fact that the site had once been associated with monks, with a possible chapel of ease or oratory of some kind, gave the site a semi-religious status and was thereafter used as a cillin for the burial of unbaptised children and other deceased not welcomed into the ‘Christian’ fraternity. It became known as Chapel Hogan which I (and I am far from being an expert in such matters as toponyms) feel might be a corruption of Seipeal na hOgainich (Chapel of the Young). The priory in Abbeylands, to which you refer, was Dominican (1264-1530s) and quite a separate entity from the Cistercian’s salt pan at Arklow Rock, a mile to the south. Any thoughts?

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