Dundrum: My Final Broadcast Time Team

Sob, sob. I said ‘broadcast’ because the last one we filmed was Brancaster. So the future will be documentaries and for these we’ll move to a later slot, usually around nine o’clock. There’ll be two more ‘as live’ excavations after next Sunday (March 3rd and 10th), then the series closes with two compilations, one on experimental archaeology, the last one, fittingly, on ‘20 Years of Time Team’. And yes, it is a sad moment. Up till now I’ve put a brave face on it, but even so, it’s still sad.

Now, he adds brightly, what about next Sunday’s episode (at 4.20 pm, Channel 4)? It was filmed in the second week of June and the location was Dundrum Castle in Northern Ireland. It was a staggeringly beautiful location, with the Mountains of Mourne running down to the Irish Sea in the background. Now admittedly they were often shrouded in rainclouds, but when they were visible they quite took your breath away. And that lovely song became a positive ear-worm for me, throughout the shoot.

Time Team: Dundrum Castle, County Down, Ireland

The Mountains of Mourne, from the walls of Dundrum Castle

The Castle was one of those early Anglo-Norman buildings, essentially erected to show the locals who was now in charge. Personally I was interested to see whether the Norman builders had erected their circular keep on a virgin hilltop or somewhere that was already important to Irish communities in the area. And my suspicions were confirmed. Although I say so myself, it’s a splendid film with a some really significant academic discoveries. We always knew Dundrum was important, but after our three-day stay there, we now know that for certain. Our trenches came up with the goods, they really did. But I shall say no more…

Time Team: Dundrum Castle, County Down, Ireland

The round keep and Curtain Wall of Dundrum Castle, Northern Ireland

Now I’ve been reliably informed that I would be well-advised to bring my fictional detective Alan Cadbury in at this stage. The thing is, lots of people read my Time Team blog posts and it would be good if some of those discerning readers could be persuaded to click on the link below and subscribe to the book. At least that’s what the publishers said, but they told me not to be too obvious about it: I should insinuate Alan Cadbury into the story in a natural, unobtrusive manner. So here goes.

It’s a strange coincidence that Time Team should be excavating at Dundrum Castle, because Alan Cadbury used to love coming here. He was born and brought up on an arable small-holding in the Lincolnshire Fens, and he frequently found himself and his arthritic sheepdog Bloater out this way, trampling through the heather of the Mountains of Mourne. Like all Fenman, he loved a steep hill. Alan was a shy, rather taciturn young man who kept himself to himself, and he liked nothing better than a rowdy evening of folk dancing in local hostelries. He had a dry sense of humour, and at home was partial to a few pints of Old Slodger Best Bitter, but in the bars around Dundrum he could often be seen sipping Bailey’s Irish Cream with gusto. After several glasses of Bailey’s, he found he could speak Gaelic fluently, which went down very well in Protestant pubs. You could see why he was such a regular visitor. Phew! So to enjoy a video, and to subscribe to his first published adventure, go to:


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