How much did a funeral cost in the 1880s? Thompsons of Waterford.

A question often asked during graveyard surveys is ‘how much did a funeral cost in the past?’ - to which I’d often reply that we need to see a undertaker’s account books to get an answer. The first undertaker’s accounts I have seen were shown to me by C J Destelle-Roe of North Tipperary and that account book contained a lot of important clues to understanding early 20th century Templemore.

Now, Waterford County Council have combined with Thompson Funeral Directors (opened in Waterford in 1786) to put their historic registers online. This is an excellent resource and a quick examination gives immediate reward.

Reading the registers it strikes me that literacy was just as much an issue for undertakers clerks as it was for stonecutters. The 19th century register is written with phonetic spellings - elm is ellim, car is care, hers for hearse so that lesson we have learned in graveyards is repeated here- the actual spelling doesn’t overly matter once you convey the intended meaning.  Read more »

Where to look for burials in the Tuam Union Workhouse?

There could be human burials anywhere within the site of the Tuam Union Workhouse -  especially dating to the mid-nineteenth century before the formal burial ground was established in the nearby townland of Carrowpeter. Delaney (2012) refers to information in Claffey (2009) that the Poor Law Commissioners were unhappy with the Workhouse burial ground being located within 90 feet of the fever sheds and the formal burial ground subsequently being established in Carrowpeter. Read more »

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 »

Training Project in the Necropolis, Glasgow 24th & 26th May 2014

We will be heading to the Necropolis in Glasgow this coming weekend (24th & 26th May 2014) to provide training in historic graveyard survey, recording and publication. We will be working in partnership with a team from Archaeology Scotland and with the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis and all comers are welcome - if you can take a photograph you can learn our system. Read more »

Survey and model of Tullore, Laois

Paddy Carroll and Ann Scully have been working on a survey of the historic graveyard in Tullore, Laois for the last 4 years or so. Paddy and some neighbours did the survey and Ann typed it up. Paddy made a model of the graveyard which is surprisingly useful in helping visitors to the site. We met Paddy and Ann last year when setting up the Laois Partnership funded training programme and we finally got to Tullore graveyard this morning.

  Read more »

Training in Tang

We will be providing training to community groups and individuals in Tang, Westmeath on the 27th, 28th, 29th March and 3rd, 4th, 5th April. The project is organised by Tang Muintir Community Council and funded by Westmeath Community Development.

All are welcome. Come for a morning or come for all 6 days. We will work through regardless of weather and the local community hall will be our digital recording base. This could be our only Leinster training project for a few months so anybody based in that neck of the woods should consider coming along.


Jacinta Kiely Newstalk Interview with Sean Moncrieff 07032014

Jacinta was on the Moncrieff Show on Newstalk ( this afternoon and gave a broad introduction to the Historic Graves Project, emphasizing the collaborative nature of the whole thing. We have the software and the methodology while the communities have the knowledge, the grá, the heritage and local authorities and Leader development companies have the ethos and imagination to support the overall project.

The interview can be heard towards the end of the above link or more directly here Read more »

Community generated data archive for 20,000 grave memorials being submitted to Cork County Council

At 11.00 am, this coming Wednesday 19th February 2014, we will be archiving the digital records for over 20,000 Cork County grave memorials and 127 historic graveyards with the county council in the.
We would like to invite any community members who took part in the Cork surveys to come along and be represented at the data submission. 
Read more »

Launch of the Old Rahoon Graveyard Information Leaflet

There was a huge turnout at the launch of the Historic Graves information leaflet in Westside Library in Galway City. The launch was the first in a series of events planned by the library to mark their 10th anniversary in their fantastic facility. The information leaflet was produced by the Historic Graves project and was based on the results of an intensive photographic and inscription survey of all the grave memorials in the old graveyard which was undertaken in September 2013. Read more »

Beyond the Grave Conference, Limerick 25-27 April 2014 - Call for Papers

I met digital historian Sharon Slater ( for coffee yesterday and she briefed me on plans for the Beyond the Grave conference to be held in Limerick next year. See you there!


Call for Papers

Beyond the Grave ; The social and physical acts surrounding death and burials in both modern and ancient Ireland.

Limerick City Archives and Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, are holding a conference on the rituals and physical aspects of death and burials in Ireland. The conference will take place on the 25th -27th April 2014 in Limerick City, Ireland.

This conference aims to explore various aspects of death and burial. Subjects ranging from social, political and religious view points; the physical act of burial; graveyard studies; genealogy; iconography; typography; cartography; cultural heritage; how to conserve and develop graveyards for our future. Read more »

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