Siting of castles in the Midlands of Ireland: a spatial approach to cultural landscapes

by Jennifer Lee Immich

Institution: University of Minnesota
Year: 2015
Keywords: Anthropology
Record ID: 2059036
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/11299/171219


During the medieval period, an attempted colonization of Ireland by Anglo-Norman lords resulted in the widespread construction of castles of all forms in the Irish countryside. The placement of castles in the landscape was an attempt to subdue the local Gaelic Irish population to create a lordly manorial landscape of dominance.This dissertation examines the spatial siting of timber castles in north County Tipperary, Ireland to investigate the role castles played in the first decades of Anglo-Norman conquest and lordship. Located in the midlands of the country, County Tipperary provides an ideal location for a case study on the colonial motives of placing castles in the landscape.In addition, this work reevaluates the classification of ringwork castles in north County Tipperary as designated in the Archaeological Inventory of County Tipperary Volume 1: North Tipperary (Farrelly and O'Brien 2002). Ringwork castles are a contentious site type as they are morphologically similar to the early medieval ringfort. This reevaluation rejects 66.6% (18/27) of the classified ringwork castles.Results of the landscape siting of timber castles provides evidence of the importance of controlling routes and ford crossings, the connection to ecclesiastical foundations, and the placement of castles in wet or boggy locations. The results contribute broadly the fields of medieval archaeology and castle studies by utilizing an interdisciplinary approach of colonial studies, historical landscape studies, and GIS.