Places

Matehy Graveyard in County Cork - spelling and lore (how did headstones end up in a riverbed)

When I look out the side window of my house, I gaze upon the newly erected signposts at the crossroads pointing to Cork, Berrings, Kanturk, and the more exotically sounding Mathey. I gaze upon this final signpost in disbelief because with all the European money and intellectual savvy, the signpost-makers have unforgiveably misspell and hence mis-represented one of the defining characteristics of my hinterland. ‘To be named is to exist’ and amongst the people who live in and aound this small rural hamlet the extraordinary legend of how it got its distinctive name is paramount. Read more »

Stories from Portnahinch Co. Laois

Last month I spent a wonderful evening in the front room of Margaret Corcoran’s farmhouse which is located a short distance from Portnahinch graveyard in Co Laois. Margaret is a graduate of an Historic Graves workshop and has surveyed and published the Portnahinch graveyard memorial stones on the Historic Graves site. Margaret had gathered a group of local interested people so that we could record some stories to add to the Portnahinch section on the website. Those gathered were; Rena Mc Evoy, Jack Kelly, Michael Keegan, Paddy Moore, Seamus Gorman, Carlo Westman, Tom Westman, Jack Hyland, Alan Robinson, Tom Cunningham, Margaret Corcoran and Matt Corcoran. Read more »

A Duel at Dawn and Other Stories

Michael O’Connell and the Ballineen Enniskeane Area Heritage Group (BEAHG) recently launched a book entitled The Story of Old Ballymoney A History from Headstones. The book is the second publication by the group and focuses on the many fascinating stories and mysteries contained within Ballymoney graveyard close to the twin villages of Ballineen and Enniskeane in Co. Cork. The previous publication provided the raw data in the form of a plan of all the graveyard memorials and a record of all the legible inscriptions. Michael O’Connell believes that one of the major achievements of the group was the unravelling of the mystery surrounding the lost dedication for the old church at Ballymoney. Read more »

From Santa Claus to Cromwell in Galway

The church of St Nicholas in Galway has a treasure trove of stories. It is linked however tenuously in some cases to the Knights Templars, Santa Claus, Christopher Columbus and Oliver Cromwell. It is also said to be the largest medieval parish church in Ireland still in use. Galway’s bustling market surrounds it on Saturday’s and local and international musical groups ranging from traditional to choral occasionally fill it with music. There are stone carvings of mermaids and gargoyles protect the vaulted south porch and throw water of the roof through their spout holes.  Read more »

Corcomroe - Dragons, Flowers and an O'Brien Effigy

Corcomroe Abbey is an early 13th century Cistercian foundation nestled at the head of a south west facing valley in the northern portion of the Burren in Co. Clare. On a recent family camping trip to Fanore we stopped off at the Abbey for a look around and were rewarded by a beautifully presented and partly re-roofed ruin. A well tended graveyard with some modern graves, surround the ruin to the south and east. The interior of the Abbey is also covered in memorial stones some dating to the late 17th century.

The dedication of the Abbey is to St Mary of the fertile rock which could really be a description of the Burren as a whole; a place noted for its barren rocky moonlike appearance but also for the richness and diversity of the flora.  Read more »

DIY Graveyard Survey and Online Publication

Margaret Corcoran attended our second ever Historic Graves workshop at Kilmanman graveyard in Co. Laois. Margaret must have enjoyed the day as she signed up to return to Kilmanman at a later date for more. We spent two further mornings in Kilmanman graveyard surveying with one afternoon in Clonaslee community centre and the other in the Laois Leader offices in Portlaoise. The afternoon sessions were spent exploring the website and working through the process of uploading that mornings geotagged photographs. Margaret wanted to record and publish her own local historic graveyard in Portnahinch, Co. Laois and we hoped to give her the tools to make this happen. Read more »

A 13th century face from Ennisnag in Kilkenny

In the porch of St Peters Church in Ennisnag (http://www.historicgraves.ie/graveyard/st-peters/kk-spen) is a 13th century graveslab which is inscribed Johannes Filius Galfridi (John Fitz Geoffry). The slab was situated in the eastern portion of the graveyard and was relocated to the porch some time after 1952.
The lovely little booklet 'St. Peters Church, Ennisnag', produced by the local community, tells us that Johannes may be the son of Geoffrey who founded the Priory of Kells in 1193. Note the hairstyle and look out for a photograph which we will publish next week which shows the skill of the stonecarve.

The McGrath Tomb in Lismore, Co. Waterford

On a recent trip to the south coast of Ireland we took in the well known delights of Killarney and Kinsale and ended our southern sojourn in the  historic town of Lismore, in County Waterford. Read more »

The start of a survey at Barony graveyard, Lisdowney, North Kilkenny

Just in from a great day spent with the Lisdowney historic graveyard group. We ran a training workshop in Barony graveyard for the Kilkenny Leader Partnership and in collaboration with Kilkenny County Council Heritage officer (see their innovative historic graveyard mapping system here). One of our key tools for the first day of a survey is Geosetter, which we use to check the accuracy of the gps camera. Here we can see that 32 of the 34 photographs taken are plotting within the graveyard but you can't see two errant readings which are over a field away. Test plotting in the field allows such errant readings to be corrected, on the fly. Read more »

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