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.
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.
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 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.
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.
On a rapid visit to Inis Mór, Galway, yesterday I got a chance to visit Temple Kieran for the first time.
Today we remember L. Spellerberg, a German POW who died on this date in 1915 while imprisoned in Templemore Co. Tipperary.
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