Archaeologists uncover a 13th century wooden harbour under Usher's Quay in Dublin.

Property developers Ballymore Homes Limited undertook the required archaeological excavation before seeking planning permission to construct an office block at Usher's Quay on the site of the old Provincial Hotel.

Excavation work began on the site in 1990, as it was known it would contain remains of the old Dublin city wall. In April 1990 a Norman harbour, a wooden dock made from giant oak timbers, was uncovered. Before this discovery was made it was believed all harbours in Dublin were built and situated outside the old city wall.

But the discovery of this internal harbour now suggests there are more of its kind at Usher’s Quay down toward Fishamble Street at Wood Quay.

It is thought the harbour may have belonged to a merchant involved in the wine trade. Artefacts excavated at the site include fragments of French pottery dating from the 13th century and tiles from a glazed roof.

This find is believed to be an example of private enterprise, meaning the Norman merchant would have had to have done a deal with the people who ran old Dublin city at that time. Archaeologist Leo Swan considers the find hugely significant as it sheds light on the perception of how Dublin developed in the century after the Norman takeover of Ireland.

Now we are for the first time beginning to see what they were up to and how both the public enterprise and the private enterprise combined to make Dublin an international, important European city.

The wooden dock is to be removed from the site and preserved. Funding in the region of £20,000 is required for this project.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 5 May 1991. The reporter is Bob Powell.