Site: Reask

Name:Reask (An Riasc) CISP No:REASK
Place:Reask (An Riasc) Grid Ref:Q 366 45 (IR)   Map
Parish:Corkaguiney Stones:2
County:Kerry (Ciarraí) , Ireland Saint(s):none
Site Type:landscape setting

Site Notes

Fanning/1981, 68--70: `Reask lies about eight miles north-west of the town of Dingle and three-quarters of a mile east of the village of Ballyferriter in the heart of the Gaeltacht of Corkaguiney. The site is located on roughly the highest point (O.D. 64.45) of this rather low-lying townland. To the north one can see the entire expanse of Smerwick Harbour with Mount Brandon to the north-east. On the west the shoulder of Cruaghmarhin rises steeply and on the south and east the mountains of Lateeve and Reenconnell complete the crescent which almost encloses the lowlands stretching down to the sea...Nothing is known of the history of the site at Reask and indeed very little, if anything, is recorded in the native annals or in later documentation of these early christian enclosures'.

Fanning/1981, 67--68: `Excavations at the site were carried out by the Office of public works during 1972-75 and revealed a sequence of burials and habitation structures dating from about the fifth century A.D. to medieval times and later. The roughly oval-shaped area was shown to have been enclosed by a substantial cashel-type wall now partly obscured by later field fences. ...Underlying the oratory in the eastern sector is the primary lintel grave cemetery with a small slab-shrine close by. The assemblage of finds includes a number of early cross-inscribed slabs, a range of stone artifacts, glass beads, coarse pottery, and some sherds of Roman-type amphorae. There is also evidence for primitive iron working - furnace pits, slag, tuyeres and other vitreous waste...A small corn-drying kiln was discovered outside the enclosure in the south-west sector. A charcoal sample from the hearth associated with the primary levels gave a radio-carbon determination of B.P. 1565 +- 90 (385 +- 90 A.D.).'

Okasha/Forsyth/2001, 181--182: `The early Christian site of Reask is located about 1 km east of Ballyferriter on high ground overlooking Smerwick harbour. As with the majority of such sites in the south-west little is known of its early history, not even the name of its patron saint. ... Excavations were undertaken between 1972 and 1975 by the OPW under the direction of Thomas Fanning, in advance of a programme of conservation ... Prior to excavation the only visible remains were Reask 1 [REASK/1], another cross-slab and some traces of dry-stone huts. Excavation of the extensive site revealed three broad phases of use. The earliest occupation level was assigned on the basis of radio-carbon date of 385 ± 90 a.d. to a `broad fourth- to seventh-century' bracket, the upper limit being furnished by sherds of [imported Mediterranean] Bii ware ... The main feature of this phase was an inhumation cemetery of 42 lintel and dug graves oriented east-west and aligned in rows which respected the line of the enclosing wall. The northern extremity of the burial ground was marked by Reask 1 [REASK/1], the western extremity by a slab-shrine. None of these graves had a marker in situ although most of the remarkable collection of cross-slabs from the site were discovered loose in the vicinity. During the second phase of occupation, on oratory and dividing wall were built across the cemetery leaving Reask 1 outside the inner enclosure to the north. Contemporary with this phase are a number of dry-stone huts and evidence for iron-, bronze- and possible glass-working. This main phase of development, `incorporating elements of worship, burial and a range of domestic activity and craftsmanship of a broadly 'monastic' character', is loosely dated to between the eighth and twelfth century'.