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Reading our past – Graveyard memorials in Ireland and North America

October 12, 2015

Dr Eileen Murphy a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography Archaeology & Palaeoecology at Queen’s University Belfast will be delivering a lecture in Ti Chulainn on Reading our past – Graveyard memorials in Ireland and North America. The lecture is part of The Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, a Heritage Lottery Fund programme to conserve and enhance some of the region’s most treasured landscapes. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council are managing the £1.4 million programme. The scheme aims to engage people with the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and surrounding landscape.

Dr Eileen Murphy  said, “The memorials that are a common occurrence in graveyards around the country are an invaluable source of information about past generations. By studying their form, decorative symbols and the contents of epitaphs it is possible for us to ‘read’ these memorials, each of which is a unique record of named individuals of the past and their wider communities.”

She continued, “By studying the monuments we can gain insights about their attitudes towards death and the afterlife, social strategies and ambitions, occupations and personal tragedies. The lecture will provide an introduction to the study of grave memorials drawing upon examples from Ireland and North America.”

Chairperson Councillor Naomi Bailie said, “This event is a great way to equip the community with the skills necessary to identify and investigate our built heritage. The natural, built and cultural heritage of our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be a key driver for suitable growth in the district.”

Una Walsh a member of the Landscape Partnership Board said, “Graveyards are the social fabric of a community, they are respected in all communities, and they are the initial place to start when tracing your family tree. I am excited to be working with this project in particular and look forward to carrying out the surveys over the winter and getting them digitised.”

Darren Rice, Manager of the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership Scheme said, “There will be training on how to survey graveyards in November too. Graveyards will be surveyed over the winter, in the spring the Ring of Gullion Team will digitise this data and make it available on the award winning Ring of Gullion website.”

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