The Black Castle is a familiar monument to many in Wicklow town, however most of us know very little about its history and archaeology. An upcoming two day public event organized by Wicklow Tidy Towns on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th October aims to shed light on this local landmark.
Wicklow Tidy Towns were awarded a grant of €10,000 by Wicklow County Council to undertake a project at the Black Castle in Wicklow Town. The purpose of the grant was to develop the tourist potential of the area, by highlighting the history and heritage of the area.
The Tidy Towns group were delighted when Professor Graeme Warren, Professor Tadgh O’Keeffe and Susan Curran from the Archaeology Department of University College Dublin offered their knowledge and expertise to the project. In addition, Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer, Wicklow County Council and John Finlay, local historian also came forward to offer us valuable advice and assistance .
This project involves researching the history and heritage of the castle and surrounding area. With this research, we will improve the information and signage around the castle for the benefit of both locals and tourists.
As part of the project, we are working with University College Dublin to undertake a geophysics survey of the area around the castle. There will be two types of surveying. Magnetometry Surveying which uses the contrast of magnetic properties between natural soil and buried archaeological features, while Earth Resistance surveying operates on the principle of soil’s ability to allow electric currents pass through it.
As part of this project we are holding public events, to get the local community involved.
On Friday 27th, we are inviting pupils from the local schools to come down and see the surveying taking place and have a go! We will also have people present to explain what is being done and what might be found. We will also give the historical background of the castle and speculate on what it might have looked like in Medieval times.
We are also running an art competition where we will be asking pupils to draw a picture of what they believe the castle looked like in its day. There will be two age categories, 5-8 and 9-12. Entries for the competition can be submitted to the Heritage Office, Wicklow County Council, County Buildings, Wicklow. The closing date for receipt of entries is 17th November 2017.
There will also be a public event on Saturday 28th October running from 11am to 3pm. Again, we are inviting members of the public to come and find out about the castle and see the archaeological surveying taking place. There will also be the opportunity to have a go at the surveying.
Once we have gathered all the information from the survey, we will develop the information sign, along with a reconstructed sketch of the Black Castle.
For queries and updates, please go to the Wicklow Tidy Towns Facebook page