The Ballyhoura Community Heritage Training project provides up-skilling and training for members of local community groups interested in recording their historic graveyards and the stories associated with them. 

Story collecting begins

While graveyard surveying work cannot go ahead at the moment, the project is still underway. The project commences with a focus on the collection of stories relating to communities in the Ballyhoura area over the last 200 years. A particular focus on the 1820s and 1830s in Ballyhoura.

Community contacts and interested parties are being contacted by John Tierney of Eachtra Heritage to build up a picture of the types of stories which are amongst us. John’s contact details are [email protected] and/or 0872312107

Well-researched stories will be published as blog posts on and then shared on various social media accounts.

Project context: The Peter Robinson Settlers

One of the project aims is to uncover and create links to a broader Irish diaspora, particularly with people descended from the Peter Robinson Settlers in Canada and the USA. The Peter Robinson assisted emigration scheme was one of many such schemes during the nineteenth century, where emigrants from Ireland to overseas were ‘assisted’ with funding or other facilities in order to set up life in a new country. It has been estimated that as many as 300,000 emigrants availed of such schemes in the years 1823 and 1825. The majority of emigrants hailed from northern Co. Cork and south eastern Limerick, but there were others from Tipperary, Kerry and Clare, as well as one from Wicklow and another from Kilkenny. To broaden the reach of these stories we are asking if participants will share connections they may have with Irish local and national press and also if any have links with local or national newspapers in North America.

Learning from the past

In the coming weeks, as current restrictions change, we intend to commence visiting all of the graveyards that remain to be surveyed, keeping in mind all health protection measures that are recommended at the time. There are lessons to be learned from the past. Many of us are no strangers to the effects of flu, TB and polio. Some of the people reading this will know very well about living with epidemics affecting their families. This project presents an opportunity to gather those lessons and help to pass them on, sharing the knowledge in our families and communities for the greater good.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, Ballyhoura Development and Eachtra Heritage have been researching comparisons between local experiences of the current outbreak and past epidemics such as cholera and TB. These health crises were a key push factor for those seeking to emigrate in the 1820s, and historical knowledge of the experience of fever hospitals is something that connects communities in Ballyhoura and North America. Click here to follow a conversation about this research that was shared recently.

For enquiries or if you would like to get involved please contact David Whyte on [email protected] or 0851813344.