16th November 2018
16th November 2018
Decency has come up on this website before when discussing past and present burial practices. It seems an archaic term; reminds me of the way our teacher's used to talk in school in the 70s and 80s, and come to think of it, the word 'decent' pronounced 'daycent' was regularly used by Cork teenagers in those days, meaning good or great. 'We're playing Carrigaline in the semi-final!' 'Daycent, we beat them last time!'. But when used in the context of burial it refers to respectful treatment of the dead.
Years ago I used to teach on a post-leaving cert heritage course in Cork city. We taught that Cultural Heritage has tangible and intangible elements. And that the tangible elements consist of built heritage and natural heritage. While we separated these elements they are all interconnected and potentially susceptible to damage. The Dept of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht are asking the public to engage with a consultation process (closing date 28 February 2019) to develop a National Heritage Plan and the relevant information can be found here.
Mick Gibbons put a few photographs on facebook of a graveyard in Mayo where the whole interior of an historic graveyard has been covered in gravel. Not just gravel paths, but the whole interior. I normally don't comment on those kinds of blunders being a firm believer in 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone'. However, I did share Mick's photo on our facebook page and I'm going to use it here again. For the simple purpose of trying to explain why it was a blunder. Probably well intentioned, and probably done by decent people, but still a blunder.
Meath is the middle province of Early Medieval Ireland, and Meath headstones are made of some of best limestone and some of the best carved stones in the country.
Meath County Council kindly funded our survey of Castlekeeran graveyard with the Castlekeeran Graveyard Committee and we held a public training day in the graveyard during Heritage Week 2018.
When we started this project we wanted to survey four graveyards in West Waterford. Eight years later, in cooperation with hundreds of rural communities we have surveyed over 500 graveyards and have published epitaphs listing almost 200,000 people.
Waterford is a funny county. For some visitors it is the bit between the ferry and West Cork, or Kerry. For others it is on the way to the Cliff Hotel in Ardmore, West Waterford. For many it is a hidden gem.
But that's the old story. The ‘scéal nua’ is the Waterford Greenway which in 2-3 years has transformed tourism in the county. The Greenway is a 46km off-road walking and cycling trail along the old Waterford to Dungarvan railway line.
Do a google search for "mass grave Ireland" and Tuam comes up, top of the list.
The phrase mass grave is used descriptively and emotionally. There's a chamber with multiple bodies in it. There are serious questions about the numbers of bodies and the decency with which the children & babies were treated in life and death. Our society prizes decent treatment of our dead, regardless of status - at least we say we do.
Public discussion of burial practices can become very emotional.
Mass and grave are the two most emotive words used in recent times. Both in public & academic discourse.
When I first started studying these things I thought mass grave would be easy to understand. But. Not so!
Over the next few months i'm going to explore the use of mass grave in an attempt to better understand our funerary practices through time.
This post starts and finishes with two different stories by two different women.
One woman was having trouble getting pregnant - she already had a few children - it just wasn't taking this time, until she went to her doctor for a chat. Talking to the doctor, who was a caring, kind, experienced woman, she came away more relaxed about the process. A month later it took.