Saturday, November 12, 2011

"And we've arrived at...another cemetery?"

That was pretty much the expression of the bus driver on our field trip on Friday. As far as we can tell, he knew that it was an Archaeology field trip, but didn't know that it was for a Mortuary Theory course. He seemed a bit put off by it, but he never actually said anything negative about it to us.

As I mentioned, this was a field trip for Mortuary Theory so the point of the trip was to look at the different ways that we commemorate the dead and how that has changed from the Medieval period to today.

Our first stop of the day was a Medieval cemetery in Castlehaven that has very few modern burials.

Candid shot of Fiona.

Meghan (brown jacket), Gereme, and Susan (red jacket) attempting to traverse the VERY uneven ground.

The remains of the Medieval church.

These were fairly modern (late 1800s/early 1900s) military graves.

This was a Spanish child that fell overboard on a ship in the harbour.

The harbour was right across the road from the graveyard. Beautiful location!

Zoe wandering around a bit.

Class picture! Left to right: Me, Fiona, Meghan, Zoe, Susan, Gereme.

Next stop was the Castletownsend 19th century Church of Ireland that kind of took over the Castlehaven area.

Barra being a tour guide and pointing out the scenery.

There was some really beautiful stained glass in this church.

This is the Castletownsend graveyard. Beautiful.

So, since it was supposed to pour that day (which it apparently did in Cork city, but we had beautiful weather in West Cork) we all (for the most part) wore wellies. When Barra saw this he asked if we wanted to go on a "real" Archaeology field trip. Of course we all agreed. Now, in Ireland, a "real" Archaeology field trip involves trespassing and climbing over at least one wall or fence. In this case we had to climb over one electric fence (depicted in the picture below with Fiona holding the fence down (there is plastic there for this purpose so that the farmers can get over the fence) and Gereme climbing over it) into someone's pasture, then over a gate onto someone else's property.

All of our hard work was worth it! This is Brian's fort.

And it has a lovely view of a tower house in the distance.

We found the entrance!

There was a Christmas tree growing on the wall!

Fiona caught me taking pictures. The whole day everyone was complementing me on my sneaky picture taking. Every time we got back on the bus everyone would insist on going through my camera to see what sneaky shots I had gotten.

One final view of the fort.

We had one more quick stop just outside of Castletownsend to see the Catholic cemetery. See that mound of earth behind the graves? That would be a ringfort. So cool.

On the way to our next stop Barra suddenly stopped his car in the middle of the road (he was driving ahead of us) and came and got us all out of the bus so that we could once again trespass (this time we climbed a wall) so that we could get another class picture with a gorgeous background. Left to right: Me, Susan, Gereme, Zoe, Meghan, Fiona.

I'm pretty sure that this is my favorite picture of all of us so far. We're calling it our "Osteo Family Portrait"

So beautiful!! That tower house down there is the same one that we could see from the fort.

Another shot once we were back on the bus and were passing the tower house.

Next stop was Myross cemetery. This cemetery is on a cliff overlooking High and Low Islands. It contains burials that are from the post Medieval period to the present.

By this point in the day I wasn't as sneaky with my picture taking.

Someone built himself a pyramid. Not that surprising considering his name was "The O'Donovan"

Barra giving his talk about the cemetery in the freezing cold wind.

We decided that this picture looks like the cover of a boy band album...just with girls.

Seriously, how great is this location?!?

Next up we stopped in Skibbereen for lunch.

We didn't know this going in, but Barra decided to treat us all to lunch, which worked out in our favor since we all got amazing deserts in addition to our other food. I got the Jameson and Bailey's Creme Brulee! It was so amazing that even the dish was smiling ;)

Our last stop of the day was at the Abbeystrewry cemetery just outside of Skibbereen.

The reason that we came here was to look at the Famine memorial that was very politically charged.

You can still see the rows of Famine grave trenches.

By this time we were all thoroughly exhausted so we headed back to Cork. This was definitely the best field trip that I've been on in a really long time. But that's to be just cant go wrong with a tour of West Cork arranged by Barra :)


marbea said...

Wow, my favorite things. I can imagine the whole day, and what a dessert. So jealous

Blueryder said...

Excellent photography! I sent some to Greg.

Fun trip and nice lunch too. What could be better?

Anonymous said...

Hello, Tacy.

I found this whilst researching for a poetry cycle I have nearly completed, and I wonder if as a person (who was) in a mortuary theory course, you may be able to tell me anything about the mass graves in Skibbereen, specifically the date of the inscription which reads 'O God ! that bread should be so dear, and human flesh so cheap.' Thanks for any help.