Stone enclosure at Kilgreany Cave, Co. Waterford

The assessment of a proposed quarry extension at Cappagh, near Dungarvan Co. Waterford for John A. Wood Ltd. in 2007 required the assessment of the environs of Kilgreany cave. The limestone cave is situated at the base of a low rocky escarpment of limestone on the northern side of a broad marshy valley through which the river Brickey flows. It was excavated between 1928-34 by the Bristol University Speleological Society and the Royal Irish Academy and by Hallam Movius (1935) of the third Harvard Expedition to Ireland and both human and animal remains, including Pleistocene fauna such as Reindeer, Bear and Giant Irish Deer were recovered. The cave also contained artefacts dating from the Neolithic, Bronze Age and early medieval periods. More recent radiocarbon dating of the human remains placed them into the first half of the third millennium BC or the fourth millennium BC (Molleson 1985-6).

A geophysical investigation of the exterior of the cave was carried out by John Nicholls of Target Archaeological Geophysics (Licence 07R055) and identified a well defined negative linear responses that indicated an oval enclosure measuring 120m x 60m in diameter, that partly enclosed the south-east end of the cave escarpment and extended to the south-east.  The negative response suggested the presence of stone foundations of the enclosure. There were also several linear responses in the interior of the enclosure that may have been potential divisions (Nicholls 2007).

As no development took place in the vicinity of the cave there was no further investigation of the enclosure. While the enclosure may simply be the remains of a later field enclosure the possibility that it was associated with prehistoric or later activity activity in the cave would merit future investigation.

Kilgreany cave under excavation in 1934

Kilgreany cave photographed in 2007.

Some of the finds from Kilgreany cave, from Movius et al. 1935.

Kilgreany geophysics by Target Archaeological geophysics.


Molleson, T.I. 1985-6. New radiocarbon dates for the occupation of Kilgreany Cave, Co. Waterford. Journal of Irish Archaeology III, 1-3.

Movius, H.L., Roche, G. , Stelfox, A.W. and Maby, J.C. 1935. Kilgreany Cave, County Waterford. The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Seventh Series, Vol. 5, No. 2, 254-296.

Nicholls, J. 2007. Geophysical Survey Report: Lands at cappagh, Kilgreany Townland County Waterford. Licence No. 07R055. Unpublished report for John A. Wood Ltd.