7 March 2024

EirGrid appoints archaeology experts for Claycastle Beach investigation

Archaeology team to initiate trial dig ahead of Celtic Interconnector Project works

EirGrid Chief Infrastructure Officer Michael Mahon

A minor archaeological investigation to explore the extent of remains of a petrified forest under Claycastle Beach in Youghal is set to commence on Monday, 11 March. 

The inspection, planned by electricity grid operator EirGrid, will take place over four days until 14 March, and will be carried out to inform a further archaeological excavation currently planned for autumn. 

The works are associated with the development of the Celtic Interconnector Project, the subsea interconnector linking Ireland and France which will allow the exchange of electricity between the two countries. 

The examination will consist of a test pit on the beach and will be overseen by archaeologists from the Underwater Archaeology Unit and the National Monuments Service. 

Speaking ahead of the planned works, EirGrid Chief Infrastructure Officer Michael Mahon said: “At EirGrid we are committed to ensuring construction works are carried out with the utmost sensitivity to the surrounding landscape and that is why we, working with our contractors, have enlisted the expertise of an archaeological team to investigate the area of beach through which the cable may pass. 

“With remains of a petrified forest known to be under the sands at Claycastle Beach it’s important that we progress with care.”

Mr Mahon added: “By understanding any archaeological make-up of the site, we can ensure that the development of the electricity cable proceeds in a way that respects and preserves local heritage.” 

The archaeological team will be using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to carefully excavate and analyse the site ahead of further investigations required in the autumn.

When constructed, the subsea cable will not be visible at the landfall point at Claycastle Beach. 

The underground cable will connect to the subsea cable by way of an underground transition joint. The underground landfall point will be fully re-instated following the completion of works next year.