Laser mapping being used to survey ‘Ireland’s Hillfort capital’, here in Wicklow

Baltinglass Hill Rath

Members of the public are invited to a special event in Baltinglass on LiDAR archaeological techniques followed by a talk on the outcome from the application of this technology in the 2022 survey of Baltinglass Hills.

LiDAR is a remote sensing technology uses the light from a laser to collect measurements. These are used to create 3D models and maps of objects.

Organised by the Heritage Office of Wicklow County Council and Coastal Uplands & Heritage Tourism (CUPHAT), the event will take place on 13th April from 7-9 pm in Timmins Bar (back room), Weaver Square, Baltinglass.

It will be an opportunity to find out more about LiDAR techniques from Cian Hogan from CUPHAT and hear about the fascinating results from the large-scale LiDAR survey of Baltinglass Hills undertaken by Dr James O Driscoll with funding from the Community Monuments Fund (CMF) in 2022.  

Recent research has transformed our understanding of this incredibly rich archaeological landscape spanning Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Early Medieval eras.

Thanks to this latest survey there is now a much enhanced understanding of the chronology of the Baltinglass landscape and numerous potential new archaeological sites have been identified, including impressive prehistoric burial monuments, a large number of enclosures of possible early medieval origin, rare ritual cursus monuments and a massive new hilltop fortification which can be regarded as some of the largest archaeological monuments in the country.

Cllr Tommy Annesley, Cathaoirleach, Wicklow County Council, stated: “The importance of the Baltinglass Hillfort Complex cannot be overstated. Spanning over 80 km2 it has been described as ‘Irelands Hillfort Capital’ having the single largest concentration, and the most impressive examples of Neolithic and Bronze hillfort monuments to be found in Ireland. Events like this are a great way to highlight and share the importance of Wicklow’s heritage.”

Emer O’Gorman, Chief Executive, Wicklow County Council, added: “This latest research contributes greatly to our understanding of this important aspect of our cultural heritage; helping us to preserve and manage these monuments and landscape, informing future presentation and dissemination of this heritage to both academic and public audiences and assisting heritage led regeneration initiatives.”

The Community Monuments Fund (CMF) is funded by the National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and is administered in Wicklow by the Heritage Office of Wicklow County Council.

The Baltinglass Hills LiDAR Survey follows on from research into the Archaeological Significance of Baltinglass Hills by James O Driscoll & Alan Hawkes via the CMF in 2021, and archaeological excavations by Alan Hawkes funded by the Baltinglass Municipal District of Wicklow County Council in 2019.

For queries contact Deirdre Burns, Heritage Officer

Image above of Baltinglass Hill Rath courtesy of County Wicklow Heritage

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