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19 July 2009
Children find ancient bones at Irish golf club

An expert from the Irish National Museum was this week examining the site of an ancient grave found on Ballybunion golf course (County Kerry, Ireland) by children. A human skeleton nicknamed 'Sammy' was discovered by the children as they played among the sandhills at the far end of the course near the Cashen River.
    Deirdre Walsh, 11-year-old daughter of the Secretary/Manager of Ballybunion Golf Club was with her friends Lilian and Vivien Nolan, aged 14 and 11, when they stumbled on the remains. They found a complete human skeleton in a 'tomb' protected by a flat rock. The children rushed back to the golf course to tell of their discovery. Mr Sean Walsh and his wife Colette were sceptical about the children's story as many animal bones had been found there in the past. And it was not until Deirdre's elder brother, Gerard, brought the skull and some other bones to the clubhouse that their story was believed. Mr Walsh then telephoned the Gardai who took the bones away and reported the matter to the National Museum.
    The ancient site lies on a secluded place in the sandhills, where a large stone had been removed to reveal a small tomb, lined with stone and about the length of a human body. "We pulled back the stone and found all the bones. I didn't believe it for a second," said Deirdre Walsh. Miss Mary Cahill, an archaeologist with the National Museum's Irish antiquities section was at the site a few days after discovery. She said that the museum already had extensive records from the Ballybunion sandhills. Bronze pins had been discovered in the area in the 1930s, she said, and in 1972 an iron knife had been found there. "It could be Iron Age, which would make the date around 2000 BCE or, more likely from 2000 BCE onwards to 700 CE," she said.

Source: Kerryman (15 July 2009)

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