Part of Ireland’s allure comes from its extensive collection historic sites, and we owe much of what we know about these places and their accessibility to archaeologists who study them and help us understand the people who came before us.
I had the opportunity to chat with archaeologist Neil Jackman about his favorite places in Ireland and about how visitors can better experience some of Ireland’s most unique and fascinating places.
Have a listen and feel free to review the show notes:
CLICK THE PLAY BUTTON below to listen.
QUOTES FROM THIS INTERVIEW
I try to focus a lot on the sites that might be a little less well-known, a little less high profile. –1:44
We amalgamate all of the historical information. We record it using actresses and actors. We record the story, mixing it with music and sound effects, so you get this core of historical information, but made in a very fun, very informative kind of way. – 5:46
I try and really highlight what is around every corner in Ireland. There’s really something interesting in every town and village. – 2:16
The place becomes all a bit more magical once you understand the story behind it. – 11:25
One of the great things about Ireland is you can drive from one end to the other in about six or seven hours. – 12:43
Audio guides are such a handy way, I suppose, of getting your information. You could be cooking your dinner or driving your car… rather than lugging around a big guidebook. It’s very convenient. – 9:41
Over time the country kind of gets to you a little, and you end up falling in love with the place. It becomes an easy place to call home. – 14:50
I think when you live in a place every day and you grow up with it… sometimes… you don’t really see the absolutely fantastic things that are right on your own doorstep. – 15:35
You can really see that people are getting to be very, very proud and very enthusiastic of their particular locality. – 15:57
Ireland is such a historical country that’s it’s very difficult to do any kind of large-scale infrastructural project without hitting some kind of evidence of human habitation. – 19:10
The Boyne Valley is one of my favorite areas in Ireland because of just the shear weight of archaeological and historical sites. – 22:04
Heritage is one of the key reasons I think that people come to Ireland. – 28:08
Tourism could really help to protect the heritage sites themselves by making sure they don’t into neglect. – 28:24
You’ll often find that these places are incredibly rewarding when you get to see them. The feeling of discovery you get is a lot better than at one of the major sites. – 37:39
Intro – The Devil’s Bit by Theresa Larkin and Noel McQuaid
An early Irish fireside with the Abarta Audio Guide to Cahir Castle – http://abartaaudioguides.com/our-guides/cahir-castle
Remarkable Places in Ireland: PART ONE and the Seven Wonders of Fore – www.IrishFireside.com/remarkable
What types of places that attract Neil?
How do you find these places?
- Sites and Monuments Records Maps
- National Monuments Service – www.Archaeology.ie
- Reading publications
- Visiting the site
Has there been a recent site that got you excited?
Abarta Audio Guides
What technology is required for the audio guides?
- Anyone can use it
- No hardware
- Download to computer or smartphone or mp3 player
- Guides are FREE or €1.99
What is a great audio guide for first time visit to Ireland?
- Viking and Medieval Ireland – Includes Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick’s Cathedral and lasts about 45 minutes to one hour
Kildare Town Audio Guide
Are your guides set up better for pre-trip or at-the-site listening?
- Much of the directional instructions are being put into a downloadable PDF, so the audio guide narrative flows well and the other details are on the printed guide.
Where are you from?
- Lancashire in the UK… due east of Dublin… came to Ireland in 1999.
What’s kept you in Ireland?
Irish response to the www.journal.ie articles
Localities working together to promote their region
Sites along The Wild Atlantic Way
- Aran Islands: Dún Aengus Fort and Dún Dúchathair Fort
- County Sligo: prehistoric archaeology – Carrowkeel
- County Mayo: Great Western Greenway
- Mentioned: Cliffs of Moher & County Kerry
What type of work do archaeologists do in Ireland?
Where there any projects you worked on that were particularly interesting?
- Early medieval watermill just outside of Ballinasloe in Kilbeggly, County Roscommon. The mill was completely preserved in a peat bog for 1,300 to 1,400 years.
What happens to those artifacts?
What part of Ireland do you live in now?
- North Kildare near Maynooth.
Sites around the Boyne Valley
- Newgrange/Brú na Bóinne, Co Meath
- Dowth, Co Meath
- Tamlyn Hall, Co Meath
- Trim Castle and the Trim River Walk which features seven medieval buildings and ends at an old-fashioned Irish pub, Co Meath
- St Columcille/Columba’s House
- High Crosses
Tips for taking photos at archaeological sites.
Office of Public Works Heritage Card for unlimited access to OPW sites
How has the economic downturn affected archaeological sites in Ireland?
Recent storms have damaged some sites like Dunbeg Fort in Co Kerry.
How are sites protected?
What in the future for your projects?
- More guides (14 currently available with 14 in development)
- App in development
- Translations of guides
- Possible publications
- Laois Monastic Trail
- Seahan: Megalithic tomb on the Co Dublin/Wicklow border in the Wicklow Mountains
- Seefin Passage Tomb, Co Wicklow
- Seefingan, Co Wicklow
Excerpt from the Abarta Audio Guide for Cahir Castle – http://abartaaudioguides.com/our-guides/cahir-castle