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The Archaeological Survey of Ireland

The Archaeological Survey of Ireland (ASI) is a unit of the National Monuments Service. The ASI was established to compile an inventory of the known archaeological monuments in the State. The information is stored on a database and in a series of paper files that collectively form the ASI Sites and Monuments Record (SMR). The SMR contains details of all monuments and places (sites) where it is believed there is a monument known to the ASI pre-dating AD 1700 and also includes a selection of monuments from the post-AD 1700 period. There are in excess of 150,800 records in the database and over 138,800 of these relate to archaeological monuments. The remaining 12,000 records are classified as ‘Redundant record’: the majority of these relate to obsolete terms, records or features that are not monuments. The records are subject to revision and the data is updated daily. The paper files of the ASI SMR are stored in the National Monuments Service Archive. Shipwrecks are not included in the SMR as this dataset is maintained separately by the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the National Monuments Service.

Note: ‘Monument’ and ‘wreck’ have the meaning as defined in the National Monuments Acts 1930 to 2004.

Legal Protection

The information held by the ASI was issued between 1984 and 1992 as a series of county Sites and Monuments Records. These county SMRs, revised in the light of further research and fieldwork, formed the basis for the statutory Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) (established under Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994). Similar in format to the SMRs (comprising a list and set of maps), the RMPs were issued for each county in the State between 1995 and 1998. The lists and accompanying maps are available for inspection in county libraries and local authority planning offices in accordance with the relevant regulations made under the 1994 Act (Statutory Instrument Number 341 of 1994 National Monuments (Exhibition of Record of Monuments) Regulations 1994). They are also available to download from this website (see under Publications, Forms & Legislation).

Monuments included in the statutory RMP are legally protected and are generally referred to as “Recorded Monuments”. The addition of a monument to the ASI SMR database does not, of itself, confer legal protection. The reclassification of a monument on this website does not affect its legal status in any way. Anyone wishing to obtain information or seek clarification in this regard should consult the National Monuments Service (email nationalmonuments@ahg.gov.ie). Copies of the relevant legislation are available to download from this website (see under Publications, Forms & Legislation).

Some monuments may be ‘Protected Structures’ for the purposes of the Planning and Development Act, 2000. No information on which monuments are so protected is available on this website. Anyone wishing to obtain information in this regard should contact the relevant local authority.

Class list

The Archaeological Survey of Ireland operates a flat or simplified hierarchical 'Class list' for classification purposes and has provided a 'scope note' for each term which may also include guidance on its use. The scope notes can be accessed when a record is selected to display in the Map Viewer (see below). As the terms have evolved over time they cannot be considered exhaustive or comprehensive. They are indicative of ASI record holdings and reflect the incremental and organic manner in which material has been added over many years, especially for monuments dating from the post-AD 1700 period. While every effort has been made to ensure consistency of use, the classifications should be considered as a fairly authoritative guideline only.

Reporting a monument

First check the Map Viewer to ascertain if the monument is already recorded. If not click here to access a  Monument Report Form in pdf format. Print out and complete the form and forward it to the address supplied. Copyright of any information or supporting documentation supplied to the National Monuments Service as part of this form will rest with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Visit the National Monuments Service Archive

Additional detailed information is contained in the Archaeological Survey of Ireland SMR paper files housed in the National Monuments Service Archive. These may be inspected at the National Monuments Service Archive Unit, Room G62, Custom House, Dublin 1. The archive is open to the public every Friday between the hours of 10am and 5pm.

To make an appointment please contact the Archive either by telephone (01) 8883922 (from Ireland) / +353 1 8883922 (from outside Ireland) or by email nmarchive@ahg.gov.ie.


Map Viewer


Please read the following information carefully and then proceed to Terms and Conditions.

For data download please also read Notes on Downloading and Accessing Data.

The National Monuments Service interactive map uses the Flash plug-in made available by Adobe for your browser. Most browsers will have this already installed. If you do not have the plug-in installed, your browser will prompt you to install it before you can view the site correctly. The Flash program has its own cache for storing temporary information on your computer. This speeds up map display and searching. On occasion, the cached information may not reflect the most up to date set of data being made available by the National Monuments Service (e.g. townlands, class list). For this reason, it is good practise to clear the Flash cache regularly (for example every week).

To clear the flash cache:

  1. Click on the following link:http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html
  2. Save this location to your favourites if you have not already done so
  3. You should see a web page that includes or resembles the image below
  4. Click on the 'Delete all sites' button
  5. Click 'Confirm' to delete the cache for all websites

You should then be ready to use the map.

The base mapping and imagery on the site utilises the Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) MapGenie web-services under license. In consequence, the displayed base map is at 1:5000 and greater scale. It is important to note that the mapping uses the Irish Transverse Mercator (ITM) co-ordinate system. In order to facilitate users during the transition from Irish Grid (IG) to ITM, downloads will include both sets of coordinates. Please note that the red dots displayed represent the centre points of each record and are not indicative of the geographic extent of the monument. The existing point centroids were digitised relative to the OSI 6-inch mapping. The move from this older IG-referenced series to the larger-scale ITM mapping has necessitated revisions to the point locations: this work is currently ongoing.

Please note the following:

  1. The Map Viewer is compatible only with the following internet browsers: Internet Explorer, Netscape and Firefox.
  2. It requires the use of the Flash plug-in made available by Adobe for your browser.
  3. The search facility is optimised for viewing with a minimum screen resolution of 1024 x 768.
  4. The search facility is best experienced using either high-speed or broadband internet access.
  5. You will need to allow pop-ups.
  6. If you choose to download data you will need database software or a GIS application to view the mapping component.

Querying the database

Having accepted the Terms and Conditions, the Map Viewer window will automatically open, as will the ‘Query data’ pane from which the database can be queried by Record number, County, Townland, Town, Class or area (the area can be defined by choosing a shape from the Query pane). Further details on how to use these and other functions can be accessed by clicking on ‘Help’ at the top right of the screen.

The query results display in four columns.

Column1: This lists the ASI SMR number.

Column 2: This lists the classification of the record. An explanation of the class term is provided in the ‘scope note’, accessed via the pop-up that appears when a record is selected. In double-clicking on ‘Scope note’ you will be brought to the relevant section of the explanatory document.

Column 3: This lists the townland(s) in which the record is situated. Note that for Gaeltacht areas the townlands are given in Irish. A spread sheet (MS Excel) containing both English and Irish versions is available to download under Publications (General Information).

Column 4: Records that have one or more attachments will display a paperclip symbol in this column. By clicking twice on the symbol a pop-up window will display the relevant attachment(s) which can be accessed by double-clicking on the item. Images will display below the description of the record when that is selected. These may be enlarged further by double-clicking on the particular image.

Query results will display in one of two colours. Those with a dark green background are scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the Record of Monument and Places (RMP). Those with a pale green background are either under consideration or will not be included (they may be unlocated or entirely removed). In hovering over a record in the Query pane this will turn to light grey. Click the record to select it: the record will turn dark grey and a pop-up containing relevant summary information will be displayed.

In order to ensure consistent performance the application can only return a maximum of 999 records for any specific search. Where a return of records in excess of 1,000 is required please use the ‘Download data’ tool.

The published summary descriptions utilise a range of abbreviations. Explanations are for these are provided at the end of the Help document.

The content of each record is copyright of the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. When referencing the content please use the following citation: The 'ASI SMR Record number' followed by '(Archaeological Survey of Ireland, SMR Record Details)' on http://www.archaeology.ie. The compiler/reviser's name should also be cited (where recorded) and the date of upload given; e.g.

SL045-007001- (Archaeological Survey of Ireland, SMR Record Details) on http://www.archaeology.ie. Revised by Paul Walsh. Uploaded: 10 May 2007.

It is important to note that only records that are precisely located are visible on the map canvas and that each record is represented as a red point or dot: this equates with the known approximate centre of the record and is not indicative of its geographic extent. If you are interested in obtaining a list of all records for a particular area it is recommended that you search the database either by county and/or townland as this will include both the located and unlocated records.

Records of monuments that are scheduled for inclusion in the next issue of the statutory ‘Record of Monuments and Places’ are surrounded by a zone (highlighted on the map in a light pink-coloured wash delimited by a thin black line). These zones are not set to be visible as a default on the browser but may be turned on/off using the 'Layer control' tool. The zones do not define the exact extent of the monuments but rather are intended to identify them for the purposes of notification under Section 12 of the National Monuments Act (1930-2004): each is referred to as a 'zone of notification'.

Problems encountered with the functionality of this application should be notified to the following email address nationalmonuments@ahg.gov.ie. Please note that the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht cannot offer assistance on any technical or content related issue other than the notes on ‘Downloading Data’ and the Help document on the website.

For users with access to GIS software please note that the Archaeological Survey of Ireland data is available as a spatial data web-service. By accessing and consuming the web-service users are deemed to have accepted the Terms and Conditions.  The web-service is available in the formats and at the URL endpoints advertised below:

OGC Web Map Service: http://webservices.archaeology.ie/ArcGIS/services/WebServices/NationalMonumentsService/MapServer/WMSServer?request=GetCapabilities&service=WMS

ArcGIS REST Web service:http://webservices.archaeology.ie/ArcGIS/rest/services/WebServices/NationalMonumentsService/MapServer



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