Unearthed human bones may date to 6th century

Human bones found on an island off the Clare coast earlier this month could date to the 6th century.

The National Museum of Ireland will consider what action might be required following the unearthing of the bones on Mutton Island off Quilty on July 2.

Fragments of two human skulls and what are believed to be animal bones were discovered by a man who had travelled out to the uninhabited island.

Experts now say the bones were part of a previously unrecorded burial and could be associated with a church built on the island in the 6th century.

It’s also believed the bones were unearthed by erosion caused by severe storms earlier this year while the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has confirmed they have seen a significant increase in reports of such incidents.

Gardaí visited Mutton Island site on the day of the discovery and carried out a preliminary examination of the bones and where they were found. While gardaí believed the bones to be ‘historic’ they sought expert help and two days later, when weather conditions improved, Garda forensic experts returned to the scene along with an archaeologist from the National Monuments Service.

The group spent over 90 minutes on the island during which a detailed forensic and archaeological examination was undertaken.

The National Monuments Service said: “It was confirmed that a previously unrecorded burial was present and early indications are that the uncovered remains are made up of fragments of two human skulls along with some larger bones thought to be of animal origin.

The remains are located approximately 30 metres from the ruined St Senan’s Church and while it is thought the remains are ancient and potentially associated with the monument, this cannot currently be confirmed,” a spokesman said.

“No samples were taken at the time. However, the report of the inspection will be forwarded to the National Museum of Ireland for consideration in relation to further action required. Any necessary action in relation to the remains will be decided upon following full consideration of the archaeologist’s report and consultation with the National Museum,” he added.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

No jail for bank official who stole €44k from AIB

Families look forward to new start as 1,300 social houses announced for Cork

Van driver faces €13k in unpaid tolls

Unmanned libraries on cards for Co Cork


Breaking Stories

Tesco call on Mandate to abandon strike

Lifestyle

Instagrammer says being snap happy has been extremely lucrative

Here's how to make money out of your social media following

GAMETECH: Dawning of a brand new experience

A real Catastrophe as hit show returns without Carrie Fisher

More From The Irish Examiner