Social relations and social change on the Buckingham Estate in the Burren, Co. Clare.

 Maggie Ronayne

Great Famine Archaeology Lisaroo open day
 Project participants and visitors on open day as Lisaroo, near Ballyvaughan (Photo: J. Fenwick)

This community archaeology project is investigating social relations and social change during the 19th century in a rural landscape in North Clare, with a particular focus on the Great Famine and its impact.  A number of clustered settlements or clachans, relict pre-famine field boundaries as well as evidence for alteration of the landscape by means of a large scale improvement project have been identified on the Buckingham estate near Ballyvaughan in the north of the Burren.  The Duke of Buckingham was an absentee landlord who sold the estate during the Great Famine in 1848 to Colonel Henry White (later the first Baron Annaly).  The Great Famine was a major catalyst for change on the estate with inevitable impacts on the daily lives of women, children and men.

Great Famine Archaeology relict field system
Relict field system associated with a clachan settlement at Croagh North (Source: P. Naessens).

Project work has included gathering community knowledge, cartographic analysis, consultation of estate records and other sources, site visits and field walking, landscape and building surveys by community members together with staff and students of the Discipline of Archaeology at NUI Galway.  The initiative has had a very wide range of participants, both children and adults.  Project results are currently being prepared for publication.

Great Famine Archaeology electrical resistance survey
Geophysical survey around Lisaroo, Newtown, Ballyvaughan (Photo: M. Ronayne)

The project has been funded by private donations and has also received community engagement funding from NUI Galway.