‘Journeys in Time – The Archaeology of the Carlow By-pass’ is home to many of the archaeological objects found along the route of the M9 Carlow By-pass. This exhibition is in association with the National Museum of Ireland and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (formerly the National Roads Authority).
Initially, 57 archaeological sites along the proposed route of the M9 Bypass were identified, and excavations were carried out between January and August 2006. Most Mesolithic activity discovered during the M9 excavations was in Tinryland and Russellstown.
Evidence of the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods in Co. Carlow were very scarce, and before the M9 excavations began most evidence of Neolithic activity in Co. Carlow had come from rock art and megalithic tombs. Water sources – coasts, lakeshores, and river valleys – were the focal points of the earliest activity in Ireland, but evidence from M9 excavations has changed our understanding, indicating Mesolithic activity further inland.
The exhibition includes a variety of objects on display from the Mesolithic Period (starting in 6700 B.C.) right through the Neolithic, Bronze, Iron, and Medieval Periods.
The exhibition includes artifacts such as flint arrowheads and scrapers, granite hammers and axeheads, sherds of pottery, and our smallest object, an Iron Age glass bead. Wall panels also describe the process and works in the excavation, as well as overviews of life in Ireland during these ages.