PHOTO GALLERY: Buried for 1,200 years in Sallins - skulls, jewellery and burial chambers

Sallins Bypass archaeological dig reveals ancient past

Conor McHugh


Conor McHugh


Archaeologists working on the site of the Sallins Bypass made a large number of discoveries in the area, including the bones of an enormous dog, jewellery, roads, numerous kilns and smelting sites. 

The photographs are kindly shared with us by Noel Dunne of Transport Infrastructure Ireland. 

Twenty different discoveries were made in the area, including charcoal-production pits, smelting furnaces, cereal-drying kilns, a brick-kiln, post-medieval roadways, a mill-race, prehistoric cremations and a ceremonial ring-ditch.

But the most significant discovery was that of an early medieval enclosure complex on the banks of the River Liffey, north of Sallins in the townland of Castlesize.

The enclosure is marked by a number of a two metre deep ditch. 

Mr Dunne told the Leinster Leader that the dig only ended in recent weeks and that among the discoveries were the remains of probably the largest ever medieval ‘slaughter dog’.

These dogs were used to guard settlements and houses in medieval times. It was found buried in a kiln which, Noel believes, suggests it was obviously a special dog to its owners.

Other items found include quite a lot of pieces of jewellry including ring pins and a silver strip, glass beads, and a book clasp, which, he said, was quite similar to the St Brigid’s cross design.

Mr Dunne said that the discovery gave a fascinating insight into the lives of those who lived then. 

Further analysis is required on the findings, he said.