GLANWORTH'S RICH HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTED IN NEW BOOK
“This new book about Glanworth Castle adds greatly to our appreciation of Glanworth as one of the most historically and archaeologically interesting villages in county Cork,” Bill Power commented when he launched Dr Conleth (Con) Manning’s new book, The History and Archaeology of Glanworth Castle on Thursday of last week.
“This book will be read for decades to come,” said Bill, who noted that although it had previously been launched in University College Cork, its author had been very anxious that it be accorded a local launch.
“Conleth has used illustrations from as early as 1805 to give us an idea of how the bridge, castle and mill have changed over the two centuries since then,” continued Bill Power.
The castle, which had been the focus of an archaeological excavation directed by Conleth Manning in the 1980s, was the cornerstone to Glanworth’s foundation and its growth as a village.
“For me what is most revealing about the book is what it tells us through the use of drawings, maps and plans of the village and castle,” added Bill.
“The archaeology of the site revealed the extent and quality of what was there but which is no longer visible,” he said.
TWENTY SIX YEARS LATER
The launch saw Dr Con Manning back in Glanworth some twenty six years after the end of the excavations which he had supervised at the castle during summers between 1982 and 1984.
“Glanworth village has a suite of historical sites,” he enthused and went on to explain that the delay in publishing the report was caused by the demands made on the OPW to examine the extraordinary number of development sites during the years of the Celtic Tiger.
However, he stated that this had been fortuitous in that a large aerial survey had supplied new evidence that solved some of the mysteries thrown up by the excavation. The report, he said, was now ‘more complete’ because of the delay.
Dr Manning spoke with obvious fondness of those summers spent in Glanworth and said he was particularly pleased that two local members of the excavation team were present on the night, namely Timmy Hannon and Tommy Cummins. Dr Manning and some of his team had stayed with Michael and Brid Dwane during the course of the dig at Glanworth Castle and he was particularly appreciative of their work in organising the launch of the report in Glanworth.
MEDIEVAL FERTILITY CARVING
Noting the huge assortment of finds made during Conleth’s dig in the 1980s, Bill Power said that these included a medieval fertility carving known as a Sheila-na-Gig, as well as such things as knives, buttons, arrow heads, buckles, wine bottles and keys. “Imagine what those keys could tell us if they could speak about the persons who last held them in their hands,” he added.
“What we do know is that the castle was originally founded by the Condons, and was subsequently taken over by the Roches of Fermoy. Feuding between the two families then ensued for a couple of centuries as they became more concerned with fighting each other than with fighting the English.”
Mr Power noted that a large part of the castle seems to have been demolished in 1824 to provide stones for the new road to Mitchelstown.
“There’s nothing new about that,” he remarked as he outlined how Glanworth parish church was built from the stones off Galtee Castle which was demolished in 1940.
“I think it was particularly fortuitous that Conleth Manning was chosen to undertake the excavations at Glanworth Castle. He is one of the most respected archaeologists in the country and his thoughtful learned approach has brought life to a part of Glanworth that might otherwise have remained forgotten.”
NOT AS OLD
Recording his appreciation to Bill Power for launching the book, Conleth Manning said that he was particularly delighted to be back in Glanworth where he welcomed meeting old friends and some of those who had worked on the original excavation.
An hour-long talk followed in which those in attendance had the opportunity to see photographs of the excavation and finds made during it. For some present, there was a little disappointment when they learned that the bridge in Glanworth may not be as old as some had thought.
Conleth said that a 14th century date for the bridge is too early. He felt that from masonry and archaeological evidence, it was more likely that it dated from the mid 1600s.
Bill Power said he noticed that Glanworth bridge bore a striking resemblance to illustrations of the first stone bridge in Fermoy which was known to have been built in 1687, but was replaced by the present bridge in 1864. A large crowd attended the event in Glanworth Community Hall which was hosted by the local community council.
In recognition of this, Dr Manning formally presented a copy to the council chairman, Michael Healy. Those who attended are reminded that a valuable coat was left in the hall after the launch. Owner should contact Michael Healy on 086-1718672.
The History and Archaeology of Glanworth Castle, Co Cork: Excavations 1982-4 by Conleth Manning is available from bookshops, price €15.
Thursday 30th September 6:20pm