Archaeology, the Tuam Workhouse & St. Mary's Mother & Baby Home - a personal perspective

This post is written in the interests of taking a measured archaeological approach to the current debate about the Mother & Baby Home in Tuam. Two key issues underlie the whole matter from an archaeological perspective;

1. the lack of a clearly identified burial ground in the Tuam Union Workhouse.

2. 19th and 20th century burial practices relating to the Workhouse &St. Mary’s Mother & Baby Home.

  Read more »

Brian Chester Robinson

With Jim & Waltie Murphy we read the  timber grave memorial for young Brien Chesters Robinson in the Old Church (Ardmore townland), Passage West, Cork Harbour. I was amazed to see the rare timber grave memorials and with the aid of the Lenser P7 flashlamp we were able to read most of the epitaph carved into the wood.  Jim took the bare details of name and date and did some research. He found the Robinsons in the 1901 Census and they were a large family and servant living in 12 Maulbawn, Monkstown, which is the townland east of the graveyard. Read more »

Headstones as Postcards from the Past

Notes below

These are the prompts used during the talk and not an exact script.

Nick Maxwell (www.wordwell.com) recommended that we focus on 'harder' topics in local history and archaeology, citing Tom Dunne's book (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebellions-Memoir-Memory-1798-ebook/dp/B006ZOYNL...) as an example of high quality history writing. Keep this in mind when telling stories of the past. Read more »

Dowsing and historic graveyards

Dick Eastman is intrigued by the possibility of using dowsing to find forgotten graves. Reading his post I am reminded of a colleague telling me they used dowsing to layout a trench in an historic graveyard excavation in Wales. They needed to avoid a buried foundation and used dowsing to detect, mark and avoid the foundations. Now, field archaeologists are very sceptical, often by nature and always by training. We believe it when we see it! Therefore I am not certain my good friend and colleague was not pulling my leg and maybe we should try and replicate his experience. Read more »

5 Most Read Posts From 2012

The Historic Graves Project have had a very busy and exciting 2012 working with rural and urban communities to record their historic graveyards. The database of graveyards, memorials and stories is growing rapidly and new entries are being added everyday. The national map is filling up and you can explore and search the databse freely as communities add their survey records. Read more »

Qr Codes in Historic Graveyards

QR codes are square barcodes which when scanned with a smartphone open a webpage. You need a QR code generator and a QR code reader to make it work. A funeral director in Dorset, England, is now offering to add QR codes to grave memorials for £95 and has garnered a lot of media interest as a result. Read more »

Pioneers in Irish Graveyard Recording - Robert M Chapple

This blog post is one of a series about people who have been working in historic graveyard research in Ireland. Previously we wrote about Dr. Jane Lyons (http://historicgraves.ie/blog/miscellanea/pioneers-irish-graveyard-recording-dr-jane-lyons) who pioneered publishing graveyard data to the internet while this post is about archaeologist Robert M Chapple. Read more »

A Happy Encounter at Inch, Co. Cork

We have over 10,000 grave memorials recorded in the last year and we have to move servers very soon as we are topping 30GB of online data. Our work is fascinating and rewarding every day and today we got an email to say thanks to one of our volunteer partners (take a bow lads http://historicgraves.ie/graveyard/inch/co-inch) and thanks to SECAD for supporting the project. Read more »

Pioneers in Irish Graveyard Recording - Dr. Jane Lyons

Earlier this year we met Dr. Jane Lyons of www.from-ireland.net one of the most valuable sources of Irish genealogical data on the internet. Dr. Lyons has shared some of her memorial transcriptions from Aghaboe in Laois (http://historicgraves.ie/sites/default/files/pdf-uploads/surveys/1693/aghaboejanelyonstranscriptions.pdf) with us and the record augments that made by the local community group in the course of a workshop in 2011.

Dr. Lyons pioneered the publication of Irish grave memorial photographs on the internet and finding her photographs (http://www.flickr.com/photos/59366723@N07/tags/gravestone/) on flickr was very encouraging in 2009. Besides publishing so many rare datasets Dr. Lyons also offers a genealogical research service at http://www.from-ireland.net/genealogy-research-service/#display.

Theoretical Underpinnings to the Protection and Promotion of Historic Graveyards


I get frustrated by talk show radio when people formulate opinions and profess them passionately without seemingly any prior thought or background knowledge. I always react positively to passion but the lack of solid underpinnings bothers me. Luckily in my work life both in archaeology with Eachtra and in historic graveyard conservation and promotion with the Historic Graves project there are solid theoretical foundations for what we do. Read more »

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