Medieval Ireland was largely rural in nature, with the vast majority of its population living outside towns. The Medieval Rural Settlement Project set out to examine the places where these people lived after the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in Ireland (1169) until the end of the medieval period (mid seventeenth century). They examined this settlement both in those areas which were granted to Anglo-Norman lords and settled with English, Welsh and Flemish tenants and those areas which remained largely under Irish control.
The Medieval Rural Settlement Project began with a feasibility study by Dr Kieran O’Conor which was published in book form in 1998 The archaeology of medieval rural settlement in Ireland. O’Conor’s research indicated that the Discovery Programme should make a significant contribution to this area of research and a new research project was initiated.
The project was divided into 3 modules, each of which provided a different insight into the lives of people lining in Ireland during this period: