During the Medieval period (1150-1550 AD) Ireland saw further invaders, this time the Anglo-Normans. Physical remains of these new people survive through their motte-and-baileys (Shane’s Castle, Balloo and Coney Island) and later stone
castles as well as through the great Abby and other ecclesiastical sites belonging to the Franciscans and Cistercians such as those at Ardboe and Masereene in Antrim town.  At the latter site a research excavation carried out in 1973 uncovered one corner of the foundation of a little plain church and burials within the interior. Artefacts recovered included iron knives, a buckle, ‘everted-rim’ pottery, green-glazed wheel-thrown pottery, and eleven coins which would have been in circulation in the period 1501—15.11. Burials were also noted at the Three Islands off the shore at Ballynaleney townland. (Image Motte & Bailey. Copyright

Native Gaelic settlements also survive in the form of earthen forts while our towns continued to develop and grow. Excavations at Market Sq. in Antrim town by Norman Crothers in 1994 revealed evidence of a succession of buildings dating from the 13th century to 20th century. Artefacts recovered included iron objects, roof tile fragments and a large number of medieval pottery sherds of 13th-14th-century date most likely locally manufactured, with a few sherds of possible late medieval date. During this period Ireland increasingly came under the control of England and by the end of the period (Tudor times) the break from the Church in Rome by Henry VIII led to the decline and dissolution of many monasteries and the beginnings of fortified houses.

Known sites of Medieval date:


Parish Townland SMR No. Remarks Grid Ref
Drummaul Parish Ballynaleney ANT 048:034 Findspot of skeleton with Medieval pottery: The Tree Islands J0015085550


Motte & Bailey


Parish Townland SMR No. Remarks Grid Ref
Grange of Muckamore Parish Balloo ANT 050:095 Counterscarp rath resused as motte and bailes with later enclosure – see Raths J14188409
Drummaul Parish Shane’s Castle Park ANT 049:034 Motte & Bailey J0963087500
Tartaraghan Coney Island ARM 002:002 Motte H9384064070