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Plants, People and Places: Medieval Castles and Modern Landscapes

Karen Dempsey
Dept of Archaeology, National University of Ireland, Galway and Lough Carra Catchment Area

This project focusses on medieval castles and the plants currently growing there: Castlecarra, Co. Mayo, Carbury, Co. Kildare, Castleroche, Co. Louth and Adare, Co. Limerick. It sets out to understand if surviving plants at medieval castles were possibly planted, grown, cared for and used by medieval people. It is hoped that this can further inform us of medieval and modern 'green lives'. The study of relict plants involves the examination of modern landscapes for the presence of plants that may have survived from or been used by people in the past. Project organisers will explore what plants do not occur widely in the landscape but are present at particular places e.g. the walls of medieval castles like Castlecarra, Co. Mayo. This will tell us more about plants and medicinal practices but also highlight the diversity of flora in modern landscapes. The project involves archaeologists, ecologists and members from the Lough Carra Catchment Project. Short videos, including images of plants, will be shared in an animated powerpoint, that can be downloaded or streamed online.

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