John's blog

The Cure Stone of Keelogues, Sligo

Paddy Joe Gallagher is the caretaker of Keelogues graveyard in N Sligo. As a community survey team recorded the headstones in Keelogues graveyard Paddy Joe led us around saying who was buried where and when! Throughout the drizzley morning he remembered each funeral and the order of burial and in the afternoon I saw him refer to a blue notebook for some extra detail.

In this video Paddy Joe tells a story told to him by his father. Ostensibly about a McGowan man who moved a Curing Stone (a medieval stone head believed to cure that most awful of afflictions - the toothache) from the graveyard in relatively recent times it strikes me the story could be up to 1000 years old!

 

"A story of the stone in the pier on the left hand side coming in. If you have toothache, come after 12 o'clock at night, kiss the stone and you get rid of the toothache!

In times gone by, bt deceased Dad, who is nearly 50 years dead, told that there was a man, name of McGowan, a short distance from here, took the stone off the pier & built it ito the gable of a byre...From the day he built it...the wind started to blow and blow! And worse it got every night! Read more »

A French Cross

In archaeology we have the concept of taphonomy. Taphonomy tells us that the ruins of the past looked very different when they were lived in. A castle would have been plastered and painted. Interior walls would be lined, painted and covered in thick drapes (think of poor old Polonius getting stabbed in the arras (always got a laugh in school)). Picture a ruined church with whitewashed walls and fresh golden thatch. The skill and science of an archaeologist is to not just see the bare bones and the stones but to clothe the past with the rich organics, textures and textiles which would have abounded then.

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Walking Beneath Benbulben

 

We average 5 km of daily walking when surveying historic graveyards. Photo by Peter Langan

Yesterday the graveyard in Drucliffe was bigger than usual and we covered 7.5 km. That is 7.5km of walking beneath Benbulben -when every time you look up from the ground the beauty of Co. Sligo is there in its intriguing glory. We've done graveyard projects all over Ireland and from Dorset to Aberdeen and Benbulben is one of the most striking locations around.  Read more »

Temple Kieran on Inis Mór

On a rapid visit to Inis Mór, Galway, yesterday I got a chance to visit Temple Kieran for the first time. Read more »

Remembering L. Spellerberg

Today we remember L. Spellerberg, a German POW who died on this date in 1915 while imprisoned in Templemore Co. Tipperary.

http://historicgraves.com/st-mary-s-church-ireland/…/grave-0 Read more »

Simple steps to survey an historic graveyard

When we run our workshops we cover a lot of ground and 'learn by doing'. The average training session lasts two days and our training manual is twenty pages long - but most people learn the system without even using the manual. People sometimes ask us to condense the system further and this is a quick attempt to do so.

In the training workshops we cover 3 Simple Steps to Surveying an Historic Graveyard/Cemetery and the system has been used to publish everything from small rural graveyards to very large urban cemeteries.

The system feeds directly into our own site www.historicgraves.com but it works equally well for building a dataset to upload to any digital database.

The simple steps are  Read more »

One of the most important headstones in Ireland

In our recent survey of Glendalough graveyard we looked at, and photographed every headstone. Each headstone is unique and some stand out as being exceptional for a variety of reasons. This headstone is exceptional within the graveyard but also internationally. Yet so many visitors are unaware of this hidden treasure and one of our hopes for the Glendalough Heritage Forum is that they will develop a trail of the 18th century headstones of Glendalough. Read more »

TB related burials in Kishkeam, Cork

Every community survey we work on is different - we follow the same process but every workshop is different because of the people. We worked in Kishkeam, north Cork, last week and the community volunteers were exclusively men. They were almost all farmers so they came and went throughout the day to fix a machine or attend a calving. They had a detailed knowledge of their own family history and also that of their neighbours. Read more »

Abbeylands in Ferrybank - 19th and 18th century headstones on the side of the River Suir

This report is about a training programme organised and funded by the Kilkenny Leader Partnership and is written by Kate Parsons who is part of a Transition Year class run by Ms. Helen O'Connor of Abbey Community College, Co. Kilkenny. The survey is part of a training project funded by Kilkenny Leader Partnership. The students are basing their survey on work by Michael O'Sullivan published in Decies 1994-1997.

We are a Transition year class who took up the Historic Graves project as the main topic in our Environmental Studies module. At first I think that everybody was apprehensive to what we would have to do in this project, none of us really understood it, although, as the project was explained to us, we all started to see how exciting this project would be.

  Read more »

Surveying with feeling

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