Fumbally Lane, Dublin
Urban, medieval and post-medieval
31509 23341
Excavations were carried out in two phases on a block of land at the western end of Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8. The first phase was carried out between January and March and the second between July and September 2006. The site measured 70m north–south by 40m. The bulk of the deposits uncovered were post-medieval and industrial in nature. The first phase of activity on the site was, however, medieval.
The medieval features were agricultural in nature. A layer of cultivation soil was present with a number of furrows cut into it. This cultivation layer is very silty and contains water-rolled pebbles. It is possible that it is dumped dredge material. The only medieval activity on the site not connected with this agricultural activity occurred in the south-eastern corner. In this area a number of pits and small ditches which contained imported medieval pottery were present, cut into a light sandy soil. This small portion of the site had much more in common with the archaeology uncovered in the adjacent site at No. 48 New Street, excavated by Antoine Giacometti (Excavations 2004, No. 564, 04E1286), than with the majority of the medieval material from the Fumbally Lane site. This material seems to relate to the cottage tanning industries run from the houses fronting on to New Street. The more agricultural features may be from the growing of food at the bottom of these same gardens or a portion of farmland near to the city, this area having been outside the walls.
The post-medieval industrial activity present on the site splits into two separate and distinct areas. The first of these was the brewery, later converted into a distillery and then back to a brewery, present in the southern portion of the site. This area was characterised by a network of structures based around a large masonry building. This was the brewery building, a portion of which is still standing on the adjacent site to the west. This building was originally constructed in the 1740s and over the next 120 years underwent a series of expansions and alterations. The surrounding structures were all part of this complex. These structures included storehouses and what appeared to be the bases of chimneystacks. The foundations of the larger building also showed evidence of a drying floor.
The industrial activity present in the northern portion of the site was tanning. This was represented by a series of large tanning pits stretching across the site from west to east. These pits were all constructed and were in use at the same time and must have constituted quite a large operation. No other structures associated with the tanning operation were uncovered. From the historical sources it seems probable that this tanning operation was run from the houses fronting on to New Row South.
Kevin Lohan, Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd, 27 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

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