Connemara West are launching a graveyard mapping project to record the memorials and heritage of the  local graveyards and burial grounds  in the Parish of Ballinakill.  This is an ambitious plan to  record and digitally map the six  graveyards and their memorial inscriptions.   It is also planned to capture, within their wider context in the landscape,  other burial grounds and monuments in the area through aerial photography and videography.

To launch the project, Connemara West are  working with Michael Gibbons, Clifden based archaeologist to  develop a three week course for people who have interest in learning more about the graveyards in their local area and perhaps who might like to  get involved in recording this rich heritage.  The three workshops will take us  on a journey from early Christian Ireland to the present time.   The course will be delivered online and is free of charge and will take place  on the following Wednesday evenings: 28th April, 5th May and 12th May at 7.30pm.

There will be further training for volunteers who would like to get  involved in on-site recording  with Michael Gibbons.  Graveyards vary in complexity and those working in graveyards may encounter a variety of features that they need to know about in order to have a good understanding of the graveyard and Michael will be training people in the unique features of each burial ground.

The recording of the memorial inscriptions also takes a lot of hard work and perseverance particularly in dealing with the older and hard to read memorials and an expert trainer on graveyard surveys will be on-hand to train and guide the  volunteers.

Most importantly, local peoples’ knowledge and expertise will be essential with regards to their knowledge of local names and also the local area.   Connemara West plans to consult with the local community and  to scan and record contributions with the help of Connemara Community Radio.

The project has been guided by Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer, Galway County Council, whose advice has ensured that the project will be  compatible with  the Galway County Council Graveyards database.

This project is supported  by Forum Connemara through the Leader programme.