Developed by Ballyhoura Development and supported by Limerick and Cork LCDCs through LEADER funding, the Historic Graves training project has now completed its work in North Cork and is moving to East Limerick!

This project provides up-skilling and training for members of local community groups interested in recording their historic graveyards and the stories associated with them. The course is facilitated by Eachtra Heritage. Since 1996 Eachtra have conducted archaeological training and surveying projects throughout Ireland.

This training project is envisaged in the context of the approaching 200th anniversary of an assisted emigration resettlement programme that saw over 2000 individuals and family members emigrate from North Cork and East Limerick to Canada in 1823 and 1825 under the direction of Peter Robinson, a colonial administrator.

The North Cork survey and training began in the Charleville/Churchtown area in July before moving to Doneraile and finally to Mitchelstown in October. As well as training local teams of graveyard surveyors, the project has uncovered some fascinating connections between our present experience of COVID-19 and various past health crises that the area has experienced. Many participants have been able to relate family stories of TB and local Fever Hospitals in the 1940s to gravesites around the area. This has helped build an understanding of what encourages groups to emigrate and it is this deep local knowledge that the training course is designed to unlock.

”Deep knowledge means what ye know.”, explained archaeologist John Tierney of Eachtra Heritage at a recent Ballyhoura Development District Forum; You know after a funeral when you go home and you’re having a cup of tea and a slice of cake and you are talking about what Granny said – that’s deep knowledge. As an archaeologist, I’m great in a graveyard. I know how to number headstones and record them but it is local knowledge and local stories that bring a historic graveyard back to life.”

The East Limerick part of the project will begin in early 2021 with graveyard surveying and story collection. If you are interested in taking part you can contact David Whyte on 0851813344 or [email protected].


Community Members read a headstone in Aglish cemetery.

Community Members read a headstone in Aglish cemetery.


Community members work in the shadow of the church ruin in Clenor.

Community members work in the shadow of the church ruin in Clenor.


The Doneraile surveying team in September.

The Doneraile surveying team in September.