IN A county steeped in so much history, it is little wonder so many here have a desire to connect to the past. Thanks to ongoing community archaeology initiatives by Queen’s University, many are getting the chance to do just that.
Last week archaeologists from Queen’s, led by Derrygonnelly woman Prof Eileen Murphy, who is head of Archaeology and Palaeoecology at the university, traveled to Fermanagh to carry out an excavation on the famine road at Boho, helping shed light one of the darkest chapters of the county’s past. It was the first dig ever carried out on any famine road in the country.
One of many built between October 1846 and the spring of Black ‘47, the road was part of a public works scheme thought up by the British Government in an attempt to deal with the crisis by giving poor people jobs. Now barely visible to the untrained eye and lying beneath Fermanagh green’s fields, the famine road provided the perfect subject for a community archaeology project, not only in its accessibility and tangibility, but in the insight it was able provide into life in the county a century-and-a-half ago.
The team, which was made up of both students and staff who had traveled down from Queen’s as well as local volunteers from the local community, had been investigating whether those who built the road had followed the specific plans from British engineers they had meant to be following.
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