More human remains have been discovered as part of an archaeological dig taking place at the Abbey Grounds in Wicklow Town.

Last year, archaeologists found the remains of several monks dating back between 600 and 800 years at the Franciscan abbey, delaying the planned redevelopment of the area.

In May 2021, ownership of the site was transferred from Fáilte Ireland to Wicklow County Council following input from local parishioners.

The Council plans to convert the building currently known as the Coach House into a café and retail/exhibition space, and to develop a terraced seating area of wood and grass to surround a planned amphitheater. 

According to the Irish Independent, The Abbey Grounds was included on the agenda for the Wicklow Municipal District meeting held on Monday, March 6.

Cllr Paul O’Brien, District Cathaoirleach asked if the new discovery of remains impacted the proposed works, as the Fáilte Ireland funding of €500,000 for the project must be spent by September

Cllr Irene Winters asked if the project could be pushed ahead, except for the two areas where the remains were found.

“A number of bodies and bones in burial sites were found last year and we got MosArt back in to redesign the performance area from the middle back out to Wentworth Place and the Grand Hotel," said Kevin Scanlon, District Engineer.

“Two to three more burial sites were found in another two sections of the Abbey Grounds last week, and there are a lot of different elements. The latest report has been sent to the National Monuments Service and I will come back to you asap once they have made their recommendation.

“They could come back and say it’s a sacred and important site and the idea of a performance area could be an issue, and it may have to relocated to another area. It’s up in the air at the moment but we do have two or three different consultants for different aspects of the project in on the site in the next few weeks.”

Cllr Gail Dunne commented: “I don’t want this placed on the long finger. It’s so important we don’t lose that funding and I have to emphasize that.”

At the conclusion of the discussions, Cllr O’Brien said to Scanlon: “No pressure but I look forward to opening it in June so.”