New scheme monographs launched in Clare Museum

A museum at night is deliciously spooky. The eye is drawn to gold and bronze artefacts in spotlit pools of light and the surroundings feel more like an Aladdin’s cave than a public institution. This was the setting in Ennis, Co. Clare, on Friday 21 September 2012, when John Rattigan, the Curator of Clare Museum, opened its doors for international Culture Night and hosted the launch of two new NRA scheme monographs. Guest speaker Fintan O’Toole of The Irish Times delivered a thoughtful rumination on the nature of change, the dangers of looking only to the future, and the important role of archaeology in enlarging and perpetuating Ireland’s long cultural memory. His key message was that “heritage belongs to all of us” and he applauded the publication of new-found archaeological discoveries by the NRA.

The two new books are Borderlands by Shane Delaney, David Bayley, Ed Lyne, Siobhán McNamara, Joe Nunan and Karen Molloy, and Beneath the Banner by Nóra Bermingham, Graham Hull and Kate Taylor. They describe archaeological investigations along the route of the M18 motorway, respectively, in the transitional lands between Galway and Clare and in the Fergus river valley around Ennis. The discoveries on the route amount to a complete panorama of human life in the region, from early prehistoric house sites and cremation cemeteries to industrial-period brickfields and lime kilns.

Borderlands: archaeological investigations along the route of the M18 Gort to Crusheen road scheme (NRA Scheme Monographs 9) was produced by Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd and Beneath the Banner: archaeology of the M18 Ennis Bypass and N85 Western Relief Road, County Clare (NRA Scheme Monographs 10) was produced by TVAS (Ireland) Ltd. Both are published by the NRA and are available through bookshops or directly from Wordwell Books, Unit 9, 78 Furze Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18 (tel: +353 1 2947860; e-mail: