Castle Restoration Funding

By Marian Crowley Chamberlain


                                               © 2001 by Joseph Ritzert. Used with permission

At the 1995 Crowley Clan Gathering in Ireland, a presentation was given by Seamus Crowley, historian, at the site of the ruins of Crowley Castle at Ahakeera, County Cork. A visit to the site reveals the ruins of a "Tower House" from the 15th or 16th century. Whatever out buildings there may have been were made of wood and have long since disappeared. Portions of the wall remain, however. It is a fascinating site, intense with Crowley history.



                                            © 2001 by Michael-Patrick Crowley. Used with permission

It was suggested at the 1995 gathering that it would be wonderful if an archaeological dig could be performed at this site. Subsequent investigations revealed that prior to an actual dig, the site should have several preliminary geophysical surveys. We made inquires into the matter and, upon the recommendations of Eamon Cotter, an Irish archaeologist, received information on the following surveys:

  1. Topographical Survey -- provides a base map and grid systems for any further surveys.
  2. Magnetic Gradiometer Survey -- to locate and identify any sub-surface archaeological features.
  3. Resistivity Survey -- using electrical imaging, allows investigation of deeper features at the site.

Since these surveys are interrelated, it would be beneficial to perform them simultaneously. This would also save mileage charges (45 Irish Pence/Mile) rather than bringing the survey crew out three different times. Bids were received from a firm in Galway, GeoArc Ltd. The cost of doing these surveys is as follows (includes surveyor or geophysicist, and field assistant as well as V.A.T.):


Survey                                                     Duration                                                   Cost

Topographical                                        6 Days                                                      2,360 Irish Punts

Magnetic Gradiometry                           4 Days                                                      1,525 Irish Punts

Resistivity Survey                                     8 Days                                                      3,050 Irish Punts

Totals                                                     18 Days                                                     6,935 Irish Punts

This is approximately 6,260 English Pounds, 19,900 New Zealand, 16,500 Canadian, or 10,700 U.S. Dollars

During the Clan Gathering in September 1998, we learned that the farm on which the Crowley Castle is situated was for sale. The Buttimer family, who had owned this farm for over 130 years had been most cooperative in allowing us to visit the site of the castle. There was no guarantee that the new owners would be so accommodating. By the end of 1998, we were in contact with the Irish Monuments Advisory Committee regarding the safe keeping of the castle ruins.

We wished to see if there was sufficient interest worldwide to attempt the above geophysical surveys, and so we undertook a pledge drive to see if it was feasible to raise the necessary funds. Although the volume of pledges was disappointing, we engaged GeoArc Ltd. to perform the surveys.

We have received the report from GeoArc Ltd. of Galway on the Geophysical study of the Crowley Castle at Ahakeera. The survey indicates several disturbances under ground, which could have some significance. It is probable that the Castle was about 13 meters by 11 meters and possibly had a tower on one corner. The present condition of the site doesn't show any indication of out buildings or outer walls. However, there are enough indications that perhaps an "invasive investigation" would be warranted in the future. We plan to have the full report analyzed by archeological experts to see if further action is warranted. An archeological "dig" and an aerial photo of the site may be future options, assuming funds are available.

The complete report is about 30 pages and includes a history on Tower Houses, color photos of the ruins of the Crowley Castle and surrounding site, regional and detailed color location maps of the Castle, various maps of the surveys done, and, finally, interpretations of the surveys.

A copy of the full report will be sent to anyone who donates a minimum of $25(US) to the project. For your copy, contact:

Thomas R. Crowley
Clan Taoiseach
246 Wolcott Rd.
Akron, Ohio 44313