A new map and index of an historic Inishowen graveyard has been unveiled to the public for the first time.
The Colgan Heritage Committee in Carndonagh, in collaboration with Carndonagh parish, completed the project at the Church of the Sacred Heart.
“The resource includes a detailed map at the entry to the graveyard and an online database, where those living abroad can research their Carndonagh connections,” a spokesperson for the committee said.
Planning for the project began a number of years ago and was complicated when the covid lockdowns were introduced.
The Colgan Heritage Committee had floated the idea in the local area and received very positive feedback for the project. They formed a working group and approached Fr. Con McLaughlin PP, who gave the idea his full support and encouragement. Plans were put in place to raise the necessary funding and a successful application was made to the Community Heritage Grant Scheme, administered by the Heritage Council. Further fundraising took place locally and Colgan Heritage gratefully acknowledges the generosity of the Inishowen Co-Op, Inishowen Credit Union, Carndonagh Parish and Costcutters Supermarket, Carndonagh.
The survey of the graves was carried out by Irish Graveyard Surveyors (IGS). A detailed map has been placed in the graveyard and a database was launched online, which can be accessed by visiting the IGS website and searching ‘Sacred Heart Church Carndonagh’.
If anyone wishes to make a correction to an entry in the database, please contact Irish Graveyard Surveyors at 094 9365048 or Info@irishgraveyards.ie
“We are delighted to announce the launch of this graves index, and we are positive it will prove a big success for many years to come,” Helen Robins, Chairperson of the Colgan Heritage Committee, said.
“Within only a few weeks of the database going up online, many hundreds of hits were noted from all over the world. This project is a true community effort, with generous financial support and assistance from many quarters. Local people engaged with the process to correct errors in the database. Joseph Gallagher, Heritage Officer for Donegal was always on hand to offer important advice and direction throughout the project. The Colgan Hall staff, the Parish Office staff and the Community Employment workers all provided invaluable assistance in bringing the project to a successful conclusion.”
In addition to the index survey, Colgan Heritage also presented a related National Heritage Week exhibition in August 2022 which included many historic church and graveyard photos, documents, records and artifacts. It also included hugely interesting recollections from clergy, undertakers, gravediggers and other parish workers. The exhibition included a section on the folklore of local wakes and funerals and a wildlife survey of the graveyard. This exhibition has provided the basis for many further potential projects into the future.
Meanwhile, Colgan Heritage has a number of other projects in the pipeline. Another event is being planned for National Heritage Week 2023, final touches are being made to a number of publications and plans are being drawn up for more of the ever popular ‘Dessie’s Walks’. Additionally, Colgan Heritage is planning a follow up project to build on the success of the recent Railway History event held in the Colgan Hall. With these, and other longer term, projects being planned, Colgan Heritage is delighted to welcome a number of new members to their ranks and would like to encourage more people with an interest in history and heritage to become involved.
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