Late Medieval

1100 – 1500 AD

The Late Medieval period in Irish archaeology, which spanned from the 12th to the 16th centuries, was marked by significant cultural and economic shifts, as well as war and epidemics. During this period, the construction of castles, monasteries, and fortified towns altered the Irish landscape. As military and political power increased, the castle became the predominant form of dwelling. Both Irish and Anglo-Norman lords constructed castles, which played an important role in the administration of justice and the control of land.

The establishment of monasteries, including those of the Cistercian, Benedictine, and Augustinian orders, resulted in the rise of important centers of learning and devotion. Providing shelter and resources to those in need, these monasteries frequently had a substantial impact on the local economy. The fortified towns, such as Dublin and Cork, were important commercial and administrative hubs that fostered the growth of commerce and industry.

Numerous outbreaks of diseases such as bubonic plague and recurrent warfare had a significant impact on the population during the Late Middle Ages. This era also witnessed the decline of Irish Gaelic lordships and the expansion of English administration. The introduction of English law, religion, and culture significantly altered Irish society and contributed to the formation of a new, hybrid culture in Ireland.

Despite the difficulties, the Late Medieval period in Ireland was marked by significant cultural and architectural achievements. This period’s archaeology sheds light on the complex interactions between cultural groups and the transformations that shaped Irish society and the landscape. The Late Medieval period in Irish archaeology continues to fascinate and inspire new generations of archaeologists and history enthusiasts with its castles, monasteries, fortified towns, and epidemics.