Lough Gur, in South West Ireland, was once a lake that fully circled the hill of Knockadoon, home to one of the four provincial entrances to Tír Na Nóg, the land of everlasting youth (subject of previous HX blog posts).
During the great Irish famine (1844 to 1849), as it was known, British Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel introduced public work schemes to create employment & income that might alleviate the consequences of the potato crop failure, on which millions of people depended. It employed some 150,000 people at peak. One such scheme was the excavation of a trench to lower the level of the Lough Gur lake.
Consequently, the lake became hoseshoe-shaped around the hill, no longer a complete circle. Another consequence of the reduced lake level was that many thousands of archeological artifacts were discovered on the newly exposed shoreline. They were found primarily at a distance where one might have thrown them from the former (higher) shoreline, leading archeologists to conclude that that lake received offerings from the local peoples during some of its 5,500 year history of local human habitation. Locals loaded the artifacts onto horse and carts and they were sold to traders in nearby Limerick city. Many of the items ended up in museums in Britain and in Ireland.
Photo taken during MBs Christmas trip home of two weeks back:
This leaves me with more questions..was the lowering of the lake simply make work or was their a purpose to lowering the lake, was the water then used elsewhere?
I found the link very informative, thanks!
Hi DL. As far as I am aware the lowering of the lake level was only to provide work/income. The trench exists to this day and I am almost certain that it merely drains into another trench or small stream a few miles away in a lower lying location. We have never been short of water in Ireland and get sufficient (almost daily!) supply from the sky for agricultural and other needs. The lake & immediate locality has an interesting website – loughgur.com if you want to read a little more. Maybe you will get to visit sometime. regards. MB
Where are the pics of the artefacts?????
The Brit landlords stole them all. Sold them to their mates in Limerick city, who then sold them to their museum mates in Blighty. No photo opps were afforded to MB or any of his ancestors. Sad but true.