In 2018 and 2019 the IAFS supported a program of community research at Drumgoon Graveyard, as well as St. Johns, Druminiskill and Dernakesh Chapel of Ease in both Co. Cavan and Co. Fermanagh.
Ordnance survey mapping suggests a Catholic Church was once located in Drumgoon Graveyard, which is thought locally to be the location of the first Catholic church in the parish. Drumgoon Hill was previously identified as the site of a rath or ringfort, with locals speculating it may even have a prehistoric significance, located as it is, in sight of the Black Pigs Dyke.
In 2016 a local ‘Drumgoon Hill Graveyard Maintenance and Support Committee’ was formed after the community became concerned at the dilapidated state of the graveyard. After clearing the site of vegetation and photographing and tracing the headstone inscriptions (the earliest legible one of which dates to 1710) the community successfully applied for Heritage Council support to commission topographic mapping, graveyard surveys and geophysical surveys at the site in 2017 and 2018.
Further funding under the EU’s Peace IV funding was secured in 2018 to support a community archaeology project for Drumgoon, Killesher Parish, and Dernakesh Chapel of Ease. The IAFS were invited onto the project in 2018 to provide expertise in community archaeology, oral history, geology, field archaeology, graveyard survey, children’s education etc.
The IAFS will provide the project with: archaeological and topographic surveys at 3 graveyard sites (Druminiskill, Dernakesh and St. John’s Church); facilitate the installation of a new path at Dernakesh; undertake keyhole excavations at Drumgoon to provide samples for radiometric dating; provide geological reports for Drumgoon and Dernakesh; provide historical assessments of a number of graveyards; capture community oral histories on ‘funeral rituals and superstitions of the past with death and burials’; provide a series of community and children’s heritage workshops.
These works remain ongoing in 2019.