Graveyard Distribution MapIntroduction to the Survey

The stated aims of the project were to compile an inventory of all known burial grounds in the county, visit, assess, map and photograph all burial grounds identified.

From this, produce a database of baseline information based on site visit & documentary sources, analyse and appraise the data collected. A sample of ten burial grounds were selected, in consultation with Kildare County Council, to carry out detailed survey including an assessment of the biodiversity in each.

The final aim of the project was twofold, firstly to make recommendations on heritage, conservation and management issues and secondly suggest possible priorities for future work or detailed survey.

The survey assessed each of the 233 sites according to defined criteria and were assigned into one of five categories which ranged from ‘National’ – those sites with national
monument status, to ‘Local 2’ – those sites dating from the early 20th century onwards.

The survey revealed that in Kildare, 2% were considered National, 35% Regional 1, 38% regional 2, 15% local 1 and 10% local 2, indicating that some 90% of the burial grounds in the county have a significant level of archaeological potential, a remarkable result and one which highlights the wealth of this heritage resource within the county.

This survey also brings together for the first time all the basic information on graveyards in the county such as townland name, denomination, ownership, legal status - under either the National Monuments Act 1930-2004 (archaeological sites and monuments) or the Planning and Development Act 2000 (protected structures).

The survey serves as a baseline resource for any future management and conservation work and a repository for previously unknown sources being added to the records.

The ultimate purpose of the project is to use the information gathered, to identify and analyse issues in relation to conservation and management of Burial Grounds in Kildare. As such the survey will be an essential tool in the development of a strategic, coordinated approach to the management and conservation of the heritage of burial grounds in Kildare.

The antiquity of the burial grounds surveyed cover a time period of around 1,500 years, ranging from the early medieval period (AD400-800) to the present day, and encompasses a wide variety of types including: graveyards in use, and those no longer so; graveyards in local authority care, and those privately owned; graveyards for Catholic, Protestant or Quaker communities; graveyards with medieval origins; children’s burial grounds; 19th century workhouse graveyards; sites with no visible trace; modern cemeteries.

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