Climb a mountain? Don’t mind if I do!

Monday, July 16th

Today can also be known as Mountain Monday. Rory took us to Keem Bay where we hiked to the top of a mountain and all over it for hours. Along the way, we saw Captain Boycott’s house which dates from 1854. And yes, he is the namesake of our common term “boycott”. We saw a penal altar and a booley village as well! The last site we visited was a World War II tower, a place more for watching than combat, as Ireland remained more or less neutral. After we successfully climbed back down from the mountain, we ran into the ocean, which was cold, but so very relaxing after a hard day’s expedition.





Tuesday, July 17th

As it was raining too hard to work on site, today we saw two medieval churches and roamed the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life. At the Burishoole Friary, Rory explained the common layout for church architecture and told us how to spot signs of renovation or decay. At the Strade Abbey, we used the information he told us to decipher what renovations had been made ourselves. My group found windows that had been filled in, arches that had been changed from larger to smaller, and we even found signs of a long sloping roof that no longer exists. While at the churches, I admired the beautiful Irish crosses used as gravestones in the adjoining cemeteries. From this, I landed on my research topic: Irish High crosses!

The museum was also interesting, giving us an inside look of Irish life during the “period between the end of the Great Famine in the middle of the 19th Century and the exhausted decade that followed the end of World War II in the 1950s”. Rory acted as a tour guide for us, and his facts combined with the real life scenes and artifacts gave us a great visual of the past.

Ruairi Baoill gave our Tuesday night lecture. He covered the hidden archaeological history of Belfast, since many do not realize the rich story told to us by the finds there, and there is much more work to be done there. Ruairi has worked under Nick Brannon (pottery lecturer) so it was interesting to see an overlap of the same artifact examples in his presentation. He also made me wonder what urban archaeology could uncover in my hometown and cities across the United States.


Wednesday, July 18th & Thursday, July 19th & Friday, July 20th

On these days, we dug. The trench is getting deeper as we scrape back more layers and dispose of more roots. People continue to make finds, but I haven’t had any more as of yet! Rory has also started us “planning”. Planning is when you draw the details of the site, so in our case, we had to draw every single rock that stretches down the center of our trenches. It’s time consuming, but we all pitched in and made it through!