John Tierney's blog

The Survey of Old Kilcummin, Killarney, Co. Kerry.

Old KIlcummin is three graveyards in one. A core medieval churchyard has morphed into a modern cemetery (kerbs and imported polished marble), and a nineteenth century graveyard (with high, and ground, vaulted tombs) and it is more than twice the width of the average graveyard. Three in one.

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"You can have Drakes & Crowes so why not Ducks"

Names stand out in Lissonuffy graveyard in Co. Roscommon. The Duffys are here a long time and it is they who give the place it's current name. There are Brennan's here too, they and the Duffy's were the Gaelic Lords of this place. Carlos you'll see hardly anywhere else in Ireland but they are old stock under Slieve Bán in mid-Roscommon.

We're here to record the graveyard, funded by the ESB through the Windfarm Community Fund. The Sliabh Bawn Windfarm sits on the hill now covered in conifers. The hill was once farmed in commonage and covered in flocks of sheep; crisscrossed by farm tracks and medieval roadways linking places like lowland Lissonuffy with Clontuskert to the SE. Read more »

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 »

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