Rising above the Barrow Valley, the Blackstairs Mountains appear at first glance as a wild and natural landscape. Step out onto the slopes however, and you will quickly come upon the evidence for thousands of years of human activity.
These mountains have been farmed, settled, worked and worshiped upon since prehistory, shaping the landscape and its environment. The stone and earthen traces of many of these activities still survive today offering us windows through which to view the past. Our final lecture in the Winter Lecture Series 2016/17, by Dr. Seamus Ó Murchú, will introduce the archaeology of this landscape and how it was used from the time of the first farmers through to the end of the 19th Century.
This lecture also acts as a commemoration to Dr. Ó Murchú’s grandfather, Séamus Murphy, a long-serving member of the Society Committee who passed away last September. One of his many historical passions was the life and experience of ordinary people in rural Ireland especially in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
In this spirit, the lecture will focus on the 19th Century Blackstairs Mountains in particular, using some of the archaeological and documentary evidence available. An added resource is also provided by the National Folklore Collection which gathered oral and written records in the area from the 1930’s. Through this, we can rebuild the lifestyle of the area’s residents up to two centuries ago including house styles and interiors, farming methods, annual customs, superstitions and religious practices as well as folk tales relating to natural and much earlier archaeological features.
The lecture will take place on Wednesday 19th April at 8om in Borris Vocational School. Admission is free and all are welcome.
Blackstairs Land Use from Down Survey