Abbey car park, Tralee

This area which was the subject of test excavations in 2008 was located on the site of the medieval Dominican Priory of the town and lies within the zone of archaeological potential for the medieval town of Tralee. The subject site was a plot measuring 676 square metres (26m square) at the southern end of the Abbey Car Park, Tralee in order to assess the full archaeological potential of the area as part of a proposal to construct a museum on the site. Aerial view of walls of the AbbeyAerial view of walls of the Abbey. The scope of the test trenching investigations was to examine the archaeological remains known to be present on the subject site at the southern end of the car park, and to map their extent and, if possible their precise nature.
The trenching identified the ground plan of buildings, probably relating to a southern projection of the East Range of the monastery. The walls uncovered show what is now presumed to be the southern end of the eastern range of the Abbey cloister. They all survive to an average height of approximately 1 metre, and this consistency in height would indicate that the Abbey walls were systematically levelled, as previous evidence has suggested. Recording of Abbey wallsRecording of Abbey walls

Human remains were also uncovered on the site. Three burials were excavated, and two further grave cuts were noted as being cut into the natural clay. There appears to be distinct phases of burial on the site. It was noted that while some skeletons have been buried into the underlying natural clay, and are probably dating to the medieval period, some appear to be later, as they have been buried into a layer build up of humic material, and may date therefore to the period post-dating the destruction of the abbey itself. Some ex situ architectural fragments were also recovered during the test excavations.

The archaeological information gathered in the investigations was used to create a reconstruction of the priory which is published in 2017 in The Kerry Magazine, 27, 34-35.