Archaeologists from UCG investigate a fort built by the forces of Oliver Cromwell on the island of Inishbofin.
A team of archaeologists from University College Galway (UCG) are investigating a stone fortress which overlooks the small harbour on Inishbofin.
Inishbofin, eight miles off the Connemara coast, is an island steeped in history which attracts a constant flow of visitors all summer.
The story goes that the fort stands on the site of a former castle built by a Spanish pirate. The present star shape fortification is believed to be the site of the last stand by Irish royalist forces against Cromwellian troops in 1965. Although this occurred over three hundred years ago, the fort is still in good structural condition. The team of archaeologists from UCG are anxious that it should be preserved and given its proper place in the history books.
According to archaeologist and team leader Michael Gibbons,
Inishbofin was the last place in Ireland to offer resistance to Cromwellian forces in Ireland and subsequently, to that in 1652 a Cromwellian army landed here and took over the island.
At the time, there was a fortification on the island but no trace of this exists today. The Cromwell forces wanted to blockade the harbour entrance and render it useless to their enemies. They offered six hundred pounds and a ship to anyone who would come to Inishbofin and blockade the harbour entrance. However, no one took up the offer. In order to keep control of the harbour, the Cromwellians decided to build their own fortification resulting in the 17th century star shaped fort that still stands today, which is known locally as Cromwell's Barracks.
Preserving the fort is part of a larger survey to be carried out in County Galway. The work is being funded by the Office of Public Works (OPW). Since June 1982, more than six hundred separate sites have been examined and documented. The findings of the overall survey are due to be published in December 1984 after a further two thousand sites have been investigated.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 July 1984. The reporter is Jim Fahy.