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.


Kilmacduagh, Co. Galway

On an unseasonably mild Saturday morning I took a spin down to the early Christian monastic site of Kilmacduagh located just west of Gort in south Co. Galway. It has one of the finest collections of churches in Ireland along with a remarkably well preserved round tower. The site is associated with St Colman who was the son of Duagh and the name Kilmacduagh can be translated as ‘the church of the son of Duagh’. In the lowlands of south Galway it was the principal ecclesiastical foundation under the patronage of the kings of Ui Fiachrach Aidhne in early medieval times. In later medieval times it became the seat of a diocese of the same name, which was co-extensive with the baronies of Kiltartan and Dunkellin. Read more »

The Wonders of Fore Co. Westmeath

A quite valley in the rolling hills of Westmeath north of Mullingar contains the small village of Fore. As you leave Castlepollard and turn right off the main road and up the small valley a view of the ruins of a Benedectine Priory rising from the flat valley floor is the first thing to strike you and as you enter the valley the rich archaeological and historical heritage contained within jumps out from every slope and flat field.  Read more »

Surnames of Barony, Kilkenny

Preparations are afoot for an evening session (scheduled for Fri evening 24th February) to wrap up last years work at Barony graveyard in north Kilkenny. This will be the first of these formal wrap ups we have been involved in and we hope that, with the community group, we will come up a stimulating event, which matches the unique character of the place.

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Clonpriest Graveyard

I attended a funeral in Clonpriest two years ago and have wanted to revisit ever since. There are at least three headstones which measure over 2 m tall as well as a fine collection of 19th century limestone memorials. The old graveyard with its ruined church gable and walled burial plot has been extended to the north and the surnames found include Gleesons, Motherways, a Boll and a Connon (the latter two were new to me). While rummaging around the graveyard for ten minutes this morning I recorded the sounds of the entrance gate and left the Zoom H2 recorder running for a while wondering how much of the surrounding sounds would be captured. Read more »

St James' Church and Cemetery, Galway


St James’ Church and cemetery in the eastern Galway suburb of Merview was the subject of a survey and excavation led by Jim Higgins during the 1990s. The excavation and survey programme was funded by FÁS and Galway City Council. Read more »

A Mortality Memorial in Kill Graveyard, Co. Cavan

We recently spent a wonderful Saturday giving one of our survey workshops in Kill graveyard in the townland of Drumhurt just south west of Cootehill in Co. Cavan. A committed group of around twenty people showed up on a dull and slightly damp morning. The graveyard is oval in plan and is defined by an earthen bank to the west and north and a boundary wall which separates the graveyard from a curving road to the east and south. The graveyard splays out around a low mound which has a number of large yew trees towards its summit. Read more »

The Dominican Priory in Athenry


Eachtra have been monitoring excavations in Tuam associated with a new water supply scheme. Last week the ‘big dig’ as the works have become known moved to Athenry and next week Eachtra will be pre-excavating a trench along Abbey Row which runs just to the west of the Dominican Priory. I took the opportunity while planning next week’s excavations to have a look around the graveyard surrounding the priory building to the north and east. Read more »

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