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Tulsk Priory and Graveyard Project 2013 - 2014

Tulsk Priory and Graveyard Project 2013 – 2014

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore one of Ireland’s most important Medieval areas, seat of the O’Conor Kingship in Gaelic Ireland.  Tulsk is a small town in Central Roscommon, you may already have passed it on your way to the West of Ireland.  Next time you travel through the cross roads that intersect the main N5 (Dublin to Westport) and the N61 (Boyle to Roscommon) roads, you can break your journey at the village Heritage Centre & Café, just over the bridge.

In medieval times, this crossroads was a hotspot of power and battle, with stone towers, castles, soldier’s garrisons, and the Dominican Priory nestled amongst it all, beside the melodically flowing Ogulla River.  The English Queen Elizabeth sent one of her most trusted generals, Sir Richard Bingham, to Tulsk in the 1500’s, where he earned himself the nickname ‘Flail of Connacht’, trying to quash the Gaelic Lords rebellions against English rule.

As part of their Medieval Rural Settlement Project, the Discovery Programme (Ireland’s archaeological research institute, funded by the Heritage Council) arrived in Tulsk for a proposed 2-3 year dig.  They finally finished 5 years later, delayed due to the vast wealth of information that was found in the area, most particularly at the site of the major archaeological dig in Tulsk.

Aerial View of DP dig, 2009

Aerial View of DP dig, 2009

The main project aim was to consider the nature of the archaeological landscape associated with rural Ireland in the period c. 1100-1650 AD.  The bulk of resources have been devoted to the study of the O’Conor lordship in Co. Roscommon, as a case-study that examines the origins and development of a Gaelic lordship in this period.

The Discovery Programme research has included:

  • Field reconnaissance
  • Ortho-imaging
  • Geophysical survey
  • Micro-excavation
  • Environmental sampling
Discovery Programme dig on Tulsk Fort, 2007

Discovery Programme dig on Tulsk Fort, 2007

Their primary excavation dig was conducted on the site of ‘Tulsk Fort’, just beside Cruachan Aí Heritage Centre, in Tulsk village.  Publications of their findings are expected in 2011, and will be available through our Online Shop.

More information on our Resources Page

Cruachan Aí Heritage Centre is a valuable asset to this community, and came about as the flagship project of Tulsk Action Group, a voluntary community organisation which began in 1992. The organisation’s principal aim is to develop the natural resources of the area for the benefit of the whole community, and county Roscommon. In order to make this aim a reality, Tulsk Action Group worked closely with state and local agencies, and liaised with other voluntary organisations, to build and open the visitor centre in Tulsk in 1999.

Cruachan Aí continues to support the local community as part of Pobal’s Community Services Programme (CSP), creating employment and enterprise opportunities, and providing events and meeting space for the local community.

Tulsk Action Group

Tulsk Action Group is just one of a number of active and innovative community organisations at work in the Rathcroghan & Tulsk area, including Tulsk Parish Services (another Community Services Programme member), Tulsk Voluntary Housing, Tulsk Tidy Towns Association, and the Graveyard Committee.

Tulsk Action Group, 1999

Tulsk Action Group, 1999

The Board of Tulsk Action Group meets monthly to monitor current operations and plan future strategies. There are opportunities to join either the board of directors or a sub-committee of Tulsk Action Group. New members are always very welcome.

Chairman: Justin Dixon
Secretary: Kieran Moylan
Treasurer: Michael Conroy

Contact us at Cruachan Aí Heritage Centre, Tulsk, for more information.