The first archaeological research excavation of an Irish Civil War site has revealed details of how a group of 34 IRA men hid out in a cave in Co Sligo for six weeks in 1922.

A team of archaeologists carried out the excavation in the small cave in the Dartry mountains - which overlooks Glencar Lake - for over a week.

They have discovered more than 200 artefacts, including pieces of pottery and glass, a boot lace and a pipe.

The cave, which is on private land, had been used as a hideout during the War of Independence. During the Civil War it became the principal hideout of the North Sligo Anti-Treaty IRA.

In September 1922, after the National Army closed in on their headquarters at Rahelly House, about 60 anti-treaty IRA men made for Ben Bulben.

Several were captured on the mountains and six men, who became known as Sligo's Noble Six, were shot dead.

A total of 34 men made it to Tormore Cave, where they remained undiscovered for six weeks.

The excavation aimed to document the hideout and learn more about how it was utilised as part of guerrilla tactics.

The research was funded by Atlantic Technological University.

As part of the project, it is said they are trying to identify the men "who sought refuge in the cave, who survived the ordeal and who then became largely forgotten".

So far, the team has identified seven of the men involved and they are appealing to anyone who had relatives who sought refuge in the cave to get in touch with them at ATU in Sligo.

The artefacts which were found have been sent to Dublin for further analysis and conservation.


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