Heritage Week 2013 Laois Graveyards talk

We have recently commenced two training projects in Laois. Laois Partnership are funding a training project while Laois County Council Heritage Office have also funded some community support work in two graveyards. We have done work in Old Sleaty, Raheen and Clopook and this powerpoint presents some of what we are encountering. Any communities interested in taking part in a training programme during September and October please email john (at) The powerpoint was presented on the 19th August as part of the Laois Heritage Week events.


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Some wooden grave memorials in Passage West, Cork

After a day of recording in St. Mary's graveyard in Passage West Jim Murphy suggested we pay a visit to the old church graveyard in Ardmore townland about 1 km to the west. Jim is a maritime historian whose book  ‘Salt Water and Rust in their Blood – Passage West, Lower Harbour and the Sea’ makes a strong case for the high tourism potential of maritime heritage in Ireland in general and Cork harbour in particular. Read more »

East Meets West in Cork -Community Led Partnerships

There are over 30 LEADER companies in Ireland and the Rural Development Funds they use in community-led projects are confined to strict territories. However, when neighbouring LEADER companies follow their communities lead and engage in joined-up thinking we get synergy. We have been training and working with community groups in South and East Cork and the SECAD Leader company throughout April and May, adding 20 historic graveyards to the dataset on Read more »

Headstones and stories from Abington, Murroe, Limerick - 'If Virtue be a Blessing Great'

Following yesterdays storm we started work in Abington graveyard this morning. We are training members of  the Murroe community ( to survey and record their historic graveyards as part of the Ballyhoura Historic Graves Project ( funded by LEADER. About a month ago we worked together in Clonkeen ( graveyard and now we have reached the flagship graveyard of Abington ( Read more »

St Canice's Cathedral in Kilkenny

The Historic Graves project recently had a meeting in the Heritage Council Offices in Kilkenny which are nestled in the fabulously restored 14th century Bishop’s Palace building just outside the boundary wall surrounding St Canice’s Cathedral. I was early for the meeting and took the opportunity to explore the graveyard surrounding St Canice’s. By the time I ventured inside the cathedral it was close to closing for lunch but the nice lady manning the desk let me in for free to have a quick look around.  Read more »

The 'Staker' Wallace and Abbey graveyard, Co. Limerick

The 'Staker' Wallace is a renowned folk hero of south Limerick who was hung, drawn and quartered for his role as local leader of the United Irishmen of 1798. During a workshop in Ballyorgan last week we were told that following his execution it is believed his mother recovered his head and carried it in her apron to be buried in Abbey graveyard in the Keale (pronounced Kale) valley, Ballyorgan. Given that the 'Staker' was probably in his 60s when he died his mother must have been a good age. Read more »

A Workshop in Kells Co. Meath

It is easy to miss St John’s cemetery in Kells Co. Meath as it is tucked away behind a large stone wall on Headfort Place to the south of the town. It also gets somewhat overshadowed by St Columba’s graveyard located on the top of the hill which contains numerous high crosses, an early church and a round tower. St John’s cemetery however is interesting in its own right and is well worth a visit. The Historic Graves project used the graveyard as a location for one of our workshops which forms part of an historic graveyard care and conservation course which we are presently running in conjunction with Meath PartnershipRead more »

One marvel from St. John's graveyard in Knockainey, Co. Limerick

We have commenced two months graveyard training in Co. Limerick, funded by Ballyhoura Leader and in collaboration with Limerick County Council. The first graveyard we worked in today is St. John's, Knockainey and amongst many intriguing stories Michael Quinlan lead us to the headstone of a man who died, apparently aged 219. We will measure and analyse the dimensions of the numbers, letters and associated spaces to see can we decipher the meaning of this carved inscription.


The Bells in Moynetemple, Co. Tipperary

I jumped out of my skin when the bells in Moynetemple struck up yesterday. The day was dull and damp and even cold - we were doing some training in Moynetemple graveyard and also hoping to track down grave memorials of family members of John Maher (my fathers grandfather) who died in the muddy farmland of the Somme and Ancre valleys in July 1916.

The graveyard in Moynetemple is unusual in that the north and south portions are approximately equal in size and appear to contain an equal number of grave memorials; the north side of a graveyard is often smaller than the south and invariably has far fewer memorials. The ruined medieval church has the remains of a broad belfry at the eastern end. Of note are three tall limestone headstones grouped together and each containing the same carving of the passion symbols. They have all been touched up with black paint which jars a bit. We will publish a good photograph of this group in the near future.


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