The Renegade Knight’s Castle In Northern Ireland | Time Team | Timeline

published on June 30, 2020

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welcome to Dundrum one of the most

picturesque locations in the whole of

Northern Ireland but 800 years ago this

stunning castle was the stronghold of a

renegade Knight from Somerset

[Music]

and this castle is built on the stuff of

mysteries who built it and why clearly

there was once much more to done run

than these ruins but nobody knows

exactly when it was built or even what

it originally looked like

we'll go underground underground that is

not gonna stop the point of this sword

and fight to the desk to reveal this

castle secrets Oh lovely and we're

poised and ready for the challenge

[Music]

County down northern ireland 9:00 am

our mission pieced together when this

castle was built and what it originally

looked like and barring the odd

technical hitch most of the team are

raring to go well this is all very

impressive but a fancy cup of Earl Grey

well the digging team are down there

bracing themselves with some

early-morning fortification they

diehards the brains of the team are

trying to work out where to put in the

first trenches we're working alongside

the guys from Queens University Belfast

this time so working with comm is going

to make it dead easy for you isn't it

Francis we've got a bit of a nightmare

of a site here Tony

I mean it's this fabulous castle but to

be quite honest we know very very little

about it but we do know some things

don't we call it we do know some things

back in the nineteen fifties when the

the site became a Steve Kerr monument

the Warsong excavation up here and the

Unruh Ward and not dead reveal evidence

of earlier structures it may be a

campaign fortification belonging to the

anglo-norman the consensus between the

three of us that probably what we ought

to do is reopen one you're grimacing why

is it that whenever we come to a site

like this rather than put in our own

trenches first of all we have to read

Icke someone else it's really the

easiest way to do it is to work from a

known to an unknown we know where that

trench is we can then work out from

there yeah this is a protected monument

right we have a limited square metre age

that we're allowed to dig but if we open

an earlier trench that doesn't count I

never knew that

never knew if you read someone else's

train she didn't count as part of your

allotted square meter each girl has

persuaded me

[Laughter]

seriously though it's unusual to come to

a Norman castle with such little

previous excavation 60 years ago

archaeologists unearthed what they

thought could be the earliest phase of

the castle to test the theory fills

reopening their trench here and there's

a real sense of urgency to the team

most 12th century Norman castles started

life not as stone structures but as a

temporary earth and defense

fingers crossed Phil might find that in

his trench now we're all satisfied that

we got it deformed yeah we want to empty

out

Dundrum castle lies 20 miles south of

Belfast overlooking the gorgeous County

Down coast people have been drawn here

for centuries and as Norman castles go

it's got all the usual ingredients

there's a curtain wall encircling a

courtyard

a gatehouse and a stone keep so what

exactly is the big mystery here

the mystery is when you actually look at

this plan and you look around here you

see that you've got this great big open

area up here at the very heart of the

castle complex what we'd be expecting to

see would be maybe a stable granary

maybe a chapel there'd be maybe a stone

Hall there'd be other elements of that

story that what's going on here in the

12th 13th century and they're not here

you've got the Cape you have the keep

but again we don't really know the date

of that keep the original castle may

have just comprised an inclusion wall

and that might have been the first phase

of activity after the the Normans come

here it does seem to me that the thing

that you guys want to work out more than

anything else is the chronology I think

that's not absolutely true I think that

what you've got here is this wonderful

site but it is little understood which

leaves us with two mysteries to solve

what was once here and what date are the

structures you can still see

there's no stopping Cole as he turns his

expertise to the standing remains in

search of answers meanwhile time teams

GF is maestro's have been deployed on a

mission to locate the castles missing

buildings using ground-penetrating radar

but so far their fancy technology can't

tell the difference between man-made

structure and bedrock not that Francis

has much sympathy I would like to see

the whole thing done by the end of day

three by the end of day one such a nice

guy

as they press on time teams Raksha Dave

is attempting archeological keyhole

surgery it's not straight on to bedrock

though is it the Carson sits on a

natural rocky outcrop she's testing

whether a blob on the GF is is bedrock

or structure I think even if it is

bedrock you've got to go down at least

1/2 meters to confirm it good job it's a

tiny trench because John isn't really

playing the chivalrous Knight he's not

quite on a par with the legendary Norman

knight who according to history books

built Dundrum castle

[Music]

John de Courcey was born in Somerset his

grandfather had been part of William the

Conqueror's entourage Finbar what sort

of man was John de Courcey how would you

describe him well there's a very very

good description of him from Jared of

Wales who was a contemporary chronicler

and he describes him as Ben fair-haired

and tall with bony and sinewy limbs his

frame was lanky and he had a very strong

physique immense bodily strength and an

extraordinary bold temperament it's

desperate dance were done he was

incredibly impressive warrior and when

was Gerald of Wales writing Gerald of

Wales had met him so this is a

one-to-one description it's fun isn't it

how that echoed down the ages because

this is from Mark Twain's The Prince and

the pauper hundreds of years later and

he uses this character Lord the course

in says now in the tower later Lord de

Courcey the mightiest arm in England but

he really thought something that was the

mightiest arm in England yes even when

he was alive the things you were doing

were so adventurous that he was regarded

as greater than any of the other

contemporary Knights at the time

in the mid 12th century England was

under the Norman rule of Henry the

second island was made up of warring

independent kingdoms

Henry stepped in sending over Norman

knights to restore order and force the

Irish to accept him as king but John de

Courcey who arrived in 1171 was a

renegade with bigger ambitions for

himself

[Music]

as the second-born Sam he didn't stand

to inherit the family fortune Island was

his golden ticket he was looking for

fame fortune and land the Normans really

wanted land to pop everything else but

when we first hear of him he's in Dublin

and he's raising an army and he amasses

an army of 300 soldiers and 22 Knights

and strikes out north we know that he

went up as far as Antrim and he built

the castle and Carrickfergus so in a

sense he but he built a little mini

state here isn't it

he built a mini state he ran his own

affairs he had his own mint he made his

own coins and very unusually and the

King might have liked that he didn't put

the Kings head on the coin he put st

patrick's head on the coins for several

years

henry was blissfully unaware of de

courses actions and this desperate dan

rebel lived the life of a self-styled

master of the area for 25 years but why

choose Dundrum to make his mark

landscape archaeologists two Danes worth

has been scouring the area for clues and

now he's back Francis wants answers

you need to be able to protect yourself

while your campaign you need somewhere

that's safe and secure but you also need

somewhere that dominates the landscape

around this choice of Hill is absolutely

perfect for both those reasons you've

got visibility all the way at this

coastline so you can control shipping as

it were from here but also look at the

view all around you you can see for

miles and miles and miles complete

control of this landscape but people in

that landscape view come to conquer as

it were they can see you up on up on

this hill

[Music]

once here de Courcey needed to defend

himself from the warrior-like and

fearsome Irish

[Music]

so Stuart's next task is to map the

castles defenses while the

archaeologists try and work out what the

course he originally built here and when

pulled in time teams pottery guru Paul

bling corn to date is first find oh it's

all decorate lovely beginning to feel

justified in let's definitely medieval

oh that's nice yeah that's that's

Cheshire that's so 13 14th century its

place called Ashton just to the north of

Chester making this stuff is that sort

of stuff you expect to find in North you

find a lot of English pottery and

putting on the East Coast I mean it's

it's a supply lines and wash that a jug

yeah it's probably coming up towards the

neck of a joke you've got sort of just

at the top of the shoulder you got

probably the high flaring neck coming up

here they have a nice rounded shoulder

and one body going down to the base down

there so this beer jug isn't exactly

fine bone china and it dates to about

1250 half a century after de Courcey had

left so the hunt still on for fines we

can tie to the Corsi and structures that

shed light on what he built

hopefully John's hot-off-the-press

geophys results for the upper courtyard

might give us the breakthrough we need

jeebies radar plots so this is the

curtain wall and while you can see

there's hints of things coming out at

that point I think if you want something

along this edge we should investigate

those with what you've been taking and

the question I would want to do to Train

resolvers are we actually looking up not

something that's the medieval period but

maybe the remains of a casual what's a

casual castle would be a defended stone

enclosure getting to the 7th to 10th

century wow that's really oh this is

totally unexpected

Kahn thinks the strange curve on the GF

is hasn't got anything to do with the

norman castle he's got a hunch it could

be something hundreds of years earlier

so would you want to put a trench in

here Oh most definitely Tony yes shall I

get my little vehicle out the way yeah

like a team possessed

we're wasting no time putting in our

third trench even John's mucking in

is it irish is it Norman pie and

archaeology of bargains basement bedrock

we'll find out tomorrow beginning of day

to hear a done drum in Northern Ireland

and a pretty gray and overcast day it is

but the weather is not dampening

anyone's spirits in our quest to find

the original Norman castle here in her

trench their time teams Tracy Smith is

on the hunt for something altogether

different in this area an intriguing

curve on the geophys got the

archaeologists hoping we were onto

something Irish predating the Normans Oh

Tracy that's fantastic yes a that

structure isn't it that's fantastic I

mean it's going down yes no sign of any

mortar nope let's dress down buckle that

so it's dry stone and it seems to have a

gentle curve on it why am i inventing

that you should come well that your feet

are actually I think that's fantastic

that's quite my day

dry stone wall before the first cup of

tea big on

maybe Francis should swap the T for

something stronger because this is a

stunning find the Normans didn't build

dry stone rooms

it's Irish and could be the remains of a

castle a circular walled enclosure to be

sure Tracy needs to expose more undated

whatever this was may well have been

flattened when John de Courcey took over

this area in the 12th century but while

the Irish outnumbered his attacking

forces they were fighting a losing

battle

to find out why time teams Matt Williams

has volunteered to step into 12th

century Irish shoes and given a choice

between a woolen suit stylish though it

is and Norman chainmail I know which I'd

go for Matt how do you feel now your

fully kitted out as an Irish fighter

well fully kitted out I feel a bit

underdressed next to her I mean straight

away the thing that I notice immediately

is or he's got all the metal that he's

got on him

musical chainmail his shield is three

times the size of mine he's got sword

and a dagger he's a full-on battleship

and I'm just a little sailing boat in

the sea basically you've got farming

implements a throwing axe and a shield

size of a pizza

okay so here we are I'm gonna give you a

quick twelfth-century lesson on well

you're gonna die most of the time so I

come running out here

okay that's mistake because I'm gonna

step in block your shield and then take

your head off how about if I went down

with that drop the shield and now look

my point is not under your guard what if

I go down like that that's it I'm gonna

block there or will feeling been very

nasty step back and just take the arm do

a high one coming down I sweat okay I'm

gonna block smack in the face of

machines yeah I kick not get out of the

way and then slice the face so you're

feeling slightly less confident now I'm

trying to think of another way with my

shoes like that well my quicker than

yours I'm gonna come over the top with

the pommel and then put all my weight

and hopefully get you going backwards

and once you stumble and fall the point

of my sword is gonna follow you down to

the ground and I gonna impale you as

soon as you hit the ground there are

certain things you could do but

definitely the weight is against you I

certainly wouldn't want to be in your

shoes even against spirited defence the

mightiest arm in England at the military

edge man against man but did his

building match his fighting we're

starting to doubt that what you see

today was what you saw in two courses

time over there there's a stretch of

wall which doesn't make sense because I

know you mean you've got this this wall

here haven't you and then suddenly it

gets incredibly thick for a few meters

and then goes back to its original depth

there what's that all about calm what's

possible what you're looking at is the

remains of maybe the hall associated

with the courses occupation of the

council I see so so this thick bit would

be the wool adjacent to the outer Yale

and then the whole thing would stick out

yeah and here any other clues

well yes Tony there's a particularly

strange bit but it's hidden around the

back of the time now what you mean come

in this direction so funny isn't it

because we virtually ignored this part

of the castle completely on day one and

suddenly it becomes not only really

important but highly contentious this

little thing here which looks to me

rather like the inset for a Norman

television set what actually is it

Francis that Tony is a medieval toilet

it's known as a guard around okay and

people would have sat up with that level

and done their business outside the

house this would be part of a building

and there is no building here no but

what we have is this so this is later

than the latrine and there was a

building here which was demolished is

fascinating Norman's on there low

reading there Norman newspapers

fantastic combs detective work has paid

off

he's worked out that decor see built a

stone Hall complete with latrine where

the

round tower now stands he also put up a

halt here now disappeared and that's not

alone based on the architecture of the

round keep and gatehouse calms convinced

they're both 13th century he thinks they

were put up by the rival Norman knight

who turned up to spoil two courses party

Hugh de Lacy was sent by King John to

depose de Courcey whose control of the

region amounted to treason but asking

him from the castle he controlled for 25

years was no mean feat it took de Lacey

about five years and he finally managed

to capture de Courcey in 1204 and

there's a very good description of that

in a later source it says that John de

Courcey wore his armor all year round

except for on Good Friday when he went

into the church de Lacy bursts in the

course he grabbed the crucifix defended

himself killed 13 of delicious soldiers

and was finally captured no idea whether

that was true or not was a great story

isn't it

of course he was toppled and de Lacy

assumed control of Dundrum well into the

13th century it seems hardly any of

what's here today was built by de

Courcey so it's his original castle that

we're looking for in our trenches and

Phil's got a hint of exactly that what

could be the earliest Norman structure

on site some kind of defensive thank you

almost look so this dark stuff

the bank really done it but rakshasas

trench is full of medieval rabble so

while we know it wasn't on bedrock it's

not over an intact building either

undeterred Colm and Frances are

embarking on their own search for the

courses Castle first place them under

the keep which replaced his earlier hall

is a rock carved cistern 23 feet deep

dug into the natural water table oh wow

that is amazing good as certain is I

mean I know Norman engineering at its

finest does not I would imagine it's the

reason way that keep us constructed at

the spot they knew there was a source of

water here and therefore they exploited

that because that's one of the things

that it really want for the castle would

be a sort of watering is there's a siege

yeah he'll be the must be thousands

again absolutely

this cistern held enough water to

service the entire castle which probably

once had things like a chapel and

stables

now they finished surveying the upper

courtyard fingers crossed

some of these might show up on the GF is

John these done incredibly spectacular

yeah I mean we've got a whole complex of

features let's just narrow it down okay

I think the things of real interest are

these responses here

they look like walls they look like a

large building now before we get too

excited it's just possible that that's

showing the natural bedding in the

geology yeah but if it's not the natural

bedding then we could have a big

structure there there are two possible

corners there which one would you favor

if we were going to put a trench on it

see you saying it's a building already

on you corners yellow corners to the

bedrock yeah okay let's go for that

what's interesting is when you look over

here at the keep you can see this little

opening honest thought that that made to

be a means of bringing water from the

cistern and sayd to keep bringing it out

to here and if you had your stables here

well their means of bringing the water

to the horses sure so we've gone from

possible bedrock to this being

reconstructed as stable with water

supply coming in fantastic prove it in

the ground we will you wait

[Music]

the gauntlets been thrown two-time teams

kasi Nuland to get the fourth trench up

and running what we're still lacking in

our trenches are any actual buildings

and any type dates so no pressure

it's lunch time day 2 and Francis

frankly the archaeology is even slower

than the lunch queue we've got new

trenches more the point of new trenches

if you don't find any we're fine what

about that dry stone wall it's gorgeous

can you guarantee to me that this

afternoon we'll find out more about the

story of the castle yes Tony absolutely

we'll find out a huge amount about here

going oh there is a burning question

still there what's that

chips on that afternoon day two and just

before lunch we put in this trench here

because we thought that there might be

an ancient castle building here Kassie

it does seem we've got a load of rubble

doesn't it ah well I think it's probably

collapse which is better than rubble

before lunch we were positing that this

could be a stables does that we'll read

well for you well we've had a lot of

stabili evidence out we do have a really

nice thing is this justify the singing

oh yeah absolutely it's what we call a

roof finial it speaks a decorative roof

furniture yeah there's nothing you find

on the edge of the range oval of the of

the eave on a really nice posh building

you just said really posh building here

does that undermine this notion that it

was a stable I mean these things sort of

turn upon the roofs of priories and big

grand homes isn't that sort of thing and

castles I suppose as well this one was

made in Bristol how do you know it was

made in Bristol I can't say a Bristol

City FC market it's the fabric dark grey

with buff surfaces lead glaze classic

ham green just outside Bristol what's

the date well late 12th to mid 13

something like that so right on the

money for the construction Lansing great

great well it looks as though we may

well be on the money in this strange

then well done

the date of this rare roof finial means

it's the first find we can tie to the

courses original castle

over in his trench feels confident he's

found something else belonging to the

Corsi the first norman defense on this

hill and he's itching to share the news

three francy give me a chance Phil ah

crikey you've been ignoring me all day

no I haven't Phil I've been busy and

throw you what have you fine well we got

the bank we thought you'd want to come

and see the bank is running up road up

here running road over and it's running

back down there I think that's quite a

substantial banks I think that's a

fantastic battle I mean one of the

things that strikes me about it it

actually looks far better constructing

you know with big lumps of masonry down

there is that what you think well I mean

there's the bank itself which is all

this really big stony these big rubbish

stuff which comes up and over there and

actually is going down and look at the

size of these big stones they're really

solid and I mean you don't know I mean

if it was a defensive bank it might've

had a palisade on it and of course you

don't know how much of it it might have

been chopped off when they actually put

the stone the stone water and I mean do

you have a date now for this curtain

wall well the only thing we can date at

the moment is the surface where my hand

is here now this is the courtyard

surface and that has got 13th 14th

century pottery on it so this wall must

be 13th or 14th century in date or more

likely a lot earlier because this

courtyard surface laps up against it I

mean that's extraordinary

that's not bad for a beginner

I won't call you next time

Phil's impressive discovery that the

wall is at least 13th century means it

was almost certainly built by de Courcey

but before he put up this imposing stone

defense it seems his stopgap was a

substantial earth and boulder bank it

was a period we call the campaign phase

a time when he was resting control of

the area and fighting the indigenous

Irish step up mat round two

target practice this is actually how he

would have been against each other than

yes myself with this bow yes the big

difference here is you'd have been

shooting arrows at him and there have

been bouncing off him whereas he'd have

been shooting his arrows at you and they

would have gone through you into the

garden with the weight of the bow that

he's using would certainly Drive the

shaft sufficiently through you to be

coming right out your bike yeah as

skilled hunters the Irish arrows were

perfect for killing animals this is I

can't believe how difficult this one is

to pull back but useless against

chainmail the Normans were better

equipped their needle bodkin arrows were

long thin and ripped through anything

we're going to measure precisely how far

each bow could fire

the Irish bow was made from you and

measured three foot six

the Normans had bows which were between

five and six feet long eighty seven

point three meters the superior range of

Norman bows successfully held the Irish

at bay backed up by imposing defenses

Stuart and time team surveyor Emma would

have been using laser images called

lidar to peer beneath the vegetation at

the scale of John de courses castle and

fortifications this is the lidar they're

actually showing all the tree coverage

and everything which we can't really see

much underneath that we can strip that

off and have the model like here it's

not incredible you can see these

features around here these are those

pictures create some defensible really

really deep okay so I mean what are you

proposing to do now I think I mean what

we're going to need to do is take some

measurements to show just precisely

what's going on in terms of where ditch

bottoms might be ditch torus and so on

but no I think that's fantastic great

start a massive series of ditches

encircle the castles outer walls Stuart

now needs to measure them and work out

how they were built and know how are

feeling Stuart but while you're off

fertile in the bushes we're all off to

enjoy some Irish hospitality let's face

it doesn't take much persuasion to get

them to a pub

you know the way to the pub the relying

on the Lord for that

[Music]

what kind of day is it been for you cult

that's been great day the weather said

good and we opened over open up not

trench over the stone feature that's the

mysterious thing that could be the

earliest building on the south slope the

arc abou the origin point for the wolf

site and you've got the posh house well

I got post roof we're hoping for posh

house but there's just that last little

bits machine away in the corner you've

had a good time here

I mean we've shifted a lot I'm up today

but it has been worth it it's been worth

it

but I'm staying here now and I'm

actually in a bit of a shock because

apparently these when in anglo-norman

was about the English were noted as

being heavy drinkers yes and the Irish

were knowing for their sobriety and your

point yeah

what are you also learn was there was

this lovely phrase and it said the grain

mix with water cheers the mind and makes

for joyful company so we've got the

grain and a water let's have some joyful

company and let's have tomorrow we have

some joyful archaeology

it's our final day at Dundrum Castle in

Northern Ireland and the entire team are

blowing away last night's cobwebs with

some heavy-duty digging not only are we

unearthing the story of Irish occupation

on this hill over a thousand years ago

we're also piecing together what Norman

knight

John de Courcey put up when he arrived

in the 12th century we were hoping to

find John to corset Castle in this

trench here which Cassie opened

yesterday afternoon but frankly that

just looks like a load of old rubble to

me no Castle here so we haven't got the

original Norman castle yet but maybe

we're close to it but what's getting us

particularly excited is the other end of

the trench we extended it hoping for

more castle but instead we've unearthed

more Cashel Cashel always confuses me

because it sounds so much faster but

it's not that no it's not an earlier

thing at some the period for the 7th

century to 10th century it's a stone

walled enclosure and what we think might

be the outside of the castle is here

where Raksha is excavating how does this

look on the geophys Francis well it

looks rather spectacular then you've got

this huge soak spread of nothing this is

the Holy Grail isn't it yes if we can

establish that this is a castle

everyone's gonna remember this

archaeology yeah I would be extremely

happy Tony I would be so that's why I'm

extending this trench yeah so I'm gonna

bridge off here yeah and then come back

like that for about three meters so I'd

be in the middle of the castle now if it

is a casual yes I mean over here and

over here I go to extreme Tracey's

trench here yeah to come towards to meet

it eventually we may decide to join the

tour pide ain't never be necessary

because the other side of the castle

would be this gorgeous bit of stone

weren't here that Tracy's been excavated

you've got it Tony now we've exposed it

fully it is drop-dead gorgeous dry stone

walling

it is stunning I've done a bit of dry

stone walling in my life

and I couldn't begin to

that that's classy stuff so this really

is starting to get exciting isn't it

it's looking smashing so with one day to

go and with the blessing of our Irish

partners we're pushing our trench

allowance to its limit by making these

trenches even bigger it's the only way

to prove whether the wall continues in a

circle and is indeed a castle because

elsewhere some castles have turned out

to be the strongholds of Irish kings

so Cole's taking me into the countryside

to check out an intact example on so

many time teams we say we're gonna see

how far back in time we can go to the

earliest evidence on this side and it's

very hard to do that mostly it's

disappeared ten miles from Dundrum is

drum Mina Cashel over a thousand years

old so this is it along here yeah

there's your bank storm dry stone like

all dry stone the same way you can see

way we were all getting excited a bit

dry stone how tall do you think it would

have been originally well that's

probably a I'd say about another meter

and height at least the one thing that

strikes me is how big it is very big

it's basically a defended farmstead

because you've got the threat of people

steal the cattle and also you have to

remember that an iron this time you got

wolves cool look at this here this is

intriguing Cullen what's this it's a

defensive feature it's like an

artificial cave yeah and what would

happen if there was a red the people he

loved down here they would go under the

ground and there's a kiss Kalvin for

them to take protection many Irish

chiefs and their families would have

lived in these enclosures when the

Normans arrived in the 12th century

and they had two choices fight or flee

unfortunately we're not giving Matt the

option of fleeing as he takes on the

fight of his life

round three man versus horse this is the

Norman saddle and this is really the key

to how they managed to beat the Irish

it's very very solid got a very high

back and they have stirrups and you can

only couch alerts which means holding it

on your arm and bracing against the back

you saddle obviously if you have a

saddle and stirrups push against if you

can imagine what it'd be feeling like

going up against that and all the

heavily armored might of the heavy horse

with his long legs longer than your

little javelins and of course his very

sharp

and you can expect to have the psaltery

I'm so glad that you're doing this and

not me

what exactly is it that you've got to

perform well I've got to face up to the

horse and rider with the spear and all

the elements that he's got and once

again I appear to be a severe

disadvantage the main one being I've

only on foot and I'm probably gonna

Chuck on my things that almost players

even there's gonna bounce off is he

gutsy does he know what to do his

courage will bear him through courage is

that what we've got to rely on that's

all I'm gonna have left right take your

Spears then

only a fraction of the Irish would have

fought on horseback most were on foot

the back foot

well that's pretty conclusive the

normans superior weapons and cavalry

left countless Irish dead others took

refuge in nearby towns and those who

survived was subject to de courses

control rubbing salt in their wounds he

then built his castle on top of their

stronghold back you've been working I

have what we thought this morning was a

fortified castle is now looking rather

more intriguing I wonder are we looking

at actually a building yes my god we're

looking at some sort of building up here

there's a hole in it really well

possibly you could be looking at a hole

as possible it's what you heard was the

a big structure which was roofed door

for the entire thing I mean this has to

be important but very very very top of

the hill very important you're dealing

with a high-status

yeah settlement up here in the hole top

this is a real revelation the curve dry

stone is too well built to be an

enclosure it seems to be the platform

for a substantial round building but

little is known about Ireland before the

Normans we do know the country was split

into 150 kingdoms or two US tribal

leaders ruled their people from

fortified strongholds and was celebrated

for their bravery and heroism the done

drum there's one local legend that

survives the first mention of Dundrum is

in about 800 in a story dealing with the

building of a big feasting hall and it

refers to a feast that was organized by

a character called brick roux and it was

attended by all the heroes of Ulster and

they spent a long time feasting telling

about their exploits according to Irish

mythology recruit was a lord poet and

troublemaker who once lived here

incredibly it looks like we might be

onto his renowned feasting hall we've

got some feasting debris in the shape of

butchered animal bone and just on the

other side of the site Phil's got

something we can date he's unearthed an

early ground surface where someone

dropped something pretty special he's a

gorgeous bone pinning see it's been

really really nicely shaped you can see

this lovely little hole in the end

there's a strong view that it could

actually be early Christian in other

words it that it is much much earlier

than the stone Cape and actually relate

to the first people who use this site

this beautiful clothing pin is

definitely pre Norman and proof the

Irish were living here as far back as

the 9th or 10th century as for our

Norman story Casas trench has drawn a

big fat blank demolition has obliterated

any clues as to what this building once

was luckily Stewart has found some

spectacular evidence of the Normans

engineering skills outside the castle

walls up here first of all we this Bank

was something on top of you can see the

slope down there that's very steep it is

and this slope down here is the first

Bank up we're standing on top of it

you've got to imagine there'd be a

palisade on top of here as well it

wouldn't be like this then you come down

into what would be the ditch behind it

which is partially filled it you can see

this this dip we're in now and they see

we're climbing up again up here is this

stilled of course it is it still de

casas and then this another ditch yeah

and you look at this one

it's actually don't fall down because it

isn't actually vertical there blimey it

is now wow that one yeah and if you come

to the other side of it up to this face

here up again and you see it's another

rock cottage look at this here Wow yeah

[Music]

these defenses were dug deep into solid

rock back-breaking work and assign the

Normans were here to stay

you see whether cutting away late but at

the front of the castle there's no sign

of any defenses and Stuart's worked out

why all we've got left of that inner

ditch the rock-cut ditch that we saw you

can see the rock face in there and you

can trace it all the way around now

what's happened at a later stage

probably in the 17th century when this

big house below us these having its

gardens built they're getting rid of all

this big bank and ditch and everything

here that's in the way to create lovely

girl absolutely and that's not just a

bright idea it's actually demonstrated

through through data bite which have

taken from the lidar critical want

through accurate measurements across the

site stewards proved that the grounds

been completely removed on this side and

that's not all he still got his trump

card to play there's nothing there at

all it's complete void is it a chimney

no I think it's the bottom of a guard

road Shoop you know toilet drain

effectively thank you for making me put

my hand up is but what's interesting

about that is there's no evidence of

building going with this if you look on

the other side of the world it's blank

and wonder if what we've got right at

the end is a tower

Stewart's discovery of a second toilet

chute on the other side of the castle

means there must have been a tower to

contain it probably the original gate

tower we finally got all the elements of

this impressive castle it started with

the circuit of substantial banks and

ditches around this hill on top was a

huge circular Bank

next the curtain wall and gate tower and

within the courtyard two holes and

stables but it's the earlier Irish part

of the story that's really created a

buzz and attracted the attention of some

of Ireland's top archaeological brass

what we found is the very summit of this

hill and surrounding it in a great

circle like a crown with the foundations

of a Great Hall and this would have been

the dwelling place of the tribal

chieftain this was the reason why this

later castle was built this had always

been an important place isn't that

interesting because the very first

reference to Dan drum is of a big hall

where people came for feasting yeah

that's a real gem of a discovery on a

beautiful site

[Music]

archeology has given us a glimpse of a

time we know so little about proving

1200 years ago this hilltop was an Irish

seat of power remind me again

what's the Irish for Cheers slasher

slasher right ladies and gentlemen I

think we've only got one word to say

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