Notes from O Duffy talk on S. Beraid of Dubhlinn

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Notes from O Duffy talk on S. Beraid of Dubhlinn

Postby brendan on Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:01 pm

These notes were taken at a lecture given today in Wood Quay venue by Sean O Duffy.
In it he proposed a start date of the settlement of Dubh Linn (about 600-625); challenged Clarks version of where Dubh Linn was actually located posing the possibility of the settlement being at Island Bridge rather than down near Dublin Castle

I hope this is of interest to some of you at least. If so I will type up any future notes I take at the lecture series and share them



Beraid may be the first resident of Dublin as the name is the earliest referred to as from Dubh Linn in the annals.
Beraid died in 659AD (650 in Annals of Four Masters) and is referred to as Saint and Abbot. The reference to Saint implies that he was the founder or one of the founders.
The information supporting his tenure is from the C17/C18 Annals of the Four Masters in the RIA Autograph where the entry was added after the main text in a different hand and ink, probably Late C17, early C18. The assumption is that the addition was made from a reliable source.
The implication of Beraid's death is that the monastery of Dubh Linn existed some time before he died. If he was the founder - implied by 'Sanctus' then 625 +/- is likely. If he was a subsequent Abbot then the Monastery could have been founded as early as 600 +/-
Beraid's death indicates that the monastery of Dubh Linn came into existence somewhere between 600 and 625.

So where ws the monastery?
From Looking at maps a circular configuration of the streets around George's street has been suggested as a likely location. This is largely based on Howard Clarke's research.
A linguistic approach suggests Dubh Linn = Black Pool. So the approach is to look for evidence of black water in the area. This approach leads to looking at the Poddle as the likely location. The origins of the word Poddle help to support the idea that the monastery was located near Dublin castle.
The origins of "Poddle" is a pre C15 word equating to Puddle - a pond of still water. Related words include Poll = Pool

1610 map shows a large area of still water outside the walls of Dublin where the Poddle river circles it. In addition the early maps show the Poll gate.
These combine to give strong linguistic evidence that the Dubh Linn is located in or near the Poddle river.

The linguistic evidence combined with the Map assessment would suggest St Michael le Poll church as the most likely location.

You would expect the archaeology to support this.

Archaeological excavations have been carried out in the area of the rath like street layout.
Excavations at Stephen street have provided no evidence of pre C13 structures on the site.
DART dig in the 1980s found some important evidence supporting possible early habitation. This was published in Medieval Dublin 1. This included a west wall and Round Wall dated to 1100. Earlier habitation dated to 675 was also found and there are early Christian burials at the site.
A later excavation by O'Donovan at Golden Lane in 2005 revealed a graveyard with 272 burials. These burials include 4 definite Viking burials. Carbon dating results are not back on all of the skeletons so exact dates are not yet available.
The earliest skeletons were found in Boulder Clay(?) and significantly are male only. This, as well as the condition of the bones (wear and tear etc) suggests a likely monastic connection. The later period bones include women and children with various items found with them.
So, the archaeology supports some settlement where Dubh Linn is speculated to lie, but maybe not as much as expected, casting some doubts on this part of Dublin as the location.

Other Annals evidence adds to this doubt. The Annals of Ulster refer to a 919 Battle when Niall Mac Aed was killed by the Dubh Linn. The Annals of the Four Masters refer to this battle as being at Cill Mo Shamoc outside of Ath Cliath. (Both Dubh Linn and Ath Cliath are names for Dublin).
The signidicance of this is that Cill Mo Shamoc is a known location as there is a ford with that name which is located at Island bridge - 2KM or so up stream from the Dublin Castle area.

The suggestion is that Dubh Linn = Cill Mo Shamoc, something supported by references to Saint Mo Shamoc of Dubh Linn.

Put this together with the fact that the Vikings are known to have conquered Dubh Linn in 830s-840s and you get a suggestion that the settlement (And monastery) were at Island bridge - which has a huge concentration of Viking Burials
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