Sowing Seeds of Interdisciplinary Work: Relict Plants at Medieval Castles

Sum awarded: £5,517

Castles often had their own gardens which could be used for leisure, display, and growing medicinal plants. Examining plant remains will show what kind of plants were used in castle gardens and tell us more about how they were used.

Dr Karen Dempsey’s project will involve ecological surveys to identify the plants at castles that have survived from the Middle Ages. This will be combined with archaeological, architectural, and historical evidence to understand how this relates to the whole site. ‘Sowing Seeds’ will also be the first time that relict plants – those that survive from an earlier period – have been examined in Ireland to understand medieval life.

The work will look at four castles in Ireland: Castle Roche (Co. Louth), Castel Carra (Co. Mayo), Mocollop (Co. Waterford), and Adare (Co. Limerick).

Photos © Karen Dempsey