Dún Ailinne



The site of Dún Ailinne is located on top of Knockaulin Hill, a short distance from the town of Kilcullen, Co. Kildare, Ireland. The ancient site was an important ceremonial and ritual focal point during the Iron Age.

The field school began in 2016, when logistical support was provided by the Irish Archaeology Field School. Since that time it has been associated with the Blackfriary Field School, which administers the program within Ireland.

Future excavations will focus on two circular ritual enclosures associated with a series of wooden structures, one of which we know dates to the Iron Age. We began excavating these features in 2018 and we plan to continue into the center to attempt to identify their specific functions.

Ireland trips are not offered every summer. Dates for the next field school will be posted on this page when available.

Expected cost: $3,000–$4,000 (not including airfare) 


A group of students digging in the dirt and taking notes at Dun Ailinne




Site Details


A student writes on a notepad at Dun Ailinne while two others walk around the dig site





Evidence from earlier excavations (1968–75) has shown that it was the focus of activity as early as the Neolithic, but its main importance was during the Iron Age, ca 600 B.C.E.–400 C.E. During this period, a series of wooden structures was built, used for ceremony and ritual probably associated with religious and political interests. 


Trip Details



This four-week field season is designed to offer students the opportunity to participate in all aspects of an archaeological excavation. This includes: 

  • Experience with surveying using a total station
  • Excavation of buried features
  • Processing and preliminary analysis of the recovered data (artifacts, bone remains, radiocarbon samples, etc.). 

Students will receive training from professional archaeologists from George Washington University and New York University, in partnership with the Blackfriary Archaeological Field School. The session will also include group field trips to surrounding areas.

While academic credit is not included automatically, it can be obtained. For more information, please contact Professorial Lecturer Susan Johnston.


A group of students and faculty standing outside a structure at the site of Dun Ailinne, Ireland




Dún Ailinne Elsewhere