Grim discoveries at Gallows Hill

July 5, 2019

In September 1969 county council workers were quarrying from a sandpit beside the scout den on the Bennetsbridge road when suddenly ‘thousands’ of human bones fell out from the side of the cutting. These were packed up in bags and some ended up in the National Museum of Ireland. One of the bodies was examined and found to be an adult male of unusually strong build, over six feet in height and about 30 years old. Since the name of the townland is Gallows Hill, and a large tree in the area also bears this name, some of the bones may have been the remains of unfortunates that were executed here. However many of the bones were mixed up (‘disarticulated’) and could have suffered a grisly end in a gibbet, a gallows-type structure from which dead bodies were hung on public display to deter criminals. In the medieval period execution sites, such as this, were often placed on the outskirts of towns.