O'Donovan: Letters containing information relative to the Antiquities of the County of Waterford

Pdf Letters containing information relative to the antiquities of the county of Waterford, collected during the progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1841. Bray, 1929.
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Letters containing information relative to the antiquities of the county of Waterford, collected during the progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1841 is a 120 page document typed in 1920 based on the original 19th century Ordnance Survey. It contains a comprehensive list and descriptions of sites of archeological and historical significance in County Waterford .

County Waterford contains a wide range of archaeological and historic sites from the period of the prehistoric Stone Age which include dolmens of Gaulstown and Knocknee and a passage grave Matthewstown which demonstrate the region was inhabited by a sophisticated society thousands of years ago. Stone circles such as at Tooren were used possibly for sun worship and as a place of sacrifice. During the same period as the Greek and Roman civilisations, Gaelic tribes such as the ” FaolŠin clan inhabited the area and Ogham stones, an example of which exists at Kiltera, display their system of runes. There are also numerous ring forts which were used to protect people and animals from tribes and wild animals such as wolves and wild boar that roamed the woods.

Following the arrival of St. Patrick, his followers travelled throughout the country converting local chieftains and establishing monastic communities. The most impressive of these monastic sites is at Ardmore which includes a round tower that was used as a bell tower and possibly a refuge from Irish and Viking raiders. Monks from Ardmore travelled throughout post-Roman Europe converting pagan barbarian tribes to Christianity.

In the 8th century, Viking raiders established settlements along at the mouth of the River Suir that later became the city of Waterford . Archaeological excavations have revealed that Viking Waterford traded with other settlements across Europe during the Dark Ages.

Following the Norman invasion of the 12th century, a series of fortifications were established throughout County Waterford . Initially these were wooden motte and baileys but eventually they became stone turreted keep surrounded by stone curtain walls. Waterford became a major Norman urban area with extensive stone curtain defensive walls, fortified towers such as Reginald's Tower and fortified gates to keep out rival Norman attackers and Gaelic Irish rebels. The Gaelic Irish also built their own stone tower houses throughout the region. However introduction of the cannon made these elaborate fortifications obsolete.

Religious orders such as the Augustinians, Domincians, Cistercians and the Knights Templar built monastic abbeys at Dungarvan, Lismore, Molana, Mothel, Mount Melleray , Waterford and other locations in County Waterford . These Christian communities became very wealthy, owning large tracts of land and their local abbots held positions of great power. However during the 16th century English Reformation they were destroyed on the orders of the Protestant King Henry VIII.


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