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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.

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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.

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Walking Beneath Benbulben

 

We average 5 km of daily walking when surveying historic graveyards.

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. 

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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 

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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.

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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.

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