Archealogy of Dún Chaocháin Peninsula featured on Culture Night

Students from Scoil Náisiúnta Cheathrú Thaidhg on the Cill Ghallagáin bog with the Dún Chaocháin table, mether and mask made from 4300-year-old Erris bog pine. Photo: Giulia Berto.

Students from Scoil Náisiúnta Cheathrú Thaidhg on the Cill Ghallagáin bog with the Dún Chaocháin table, mether and mask made from 4300-year-old Erris bog pine. Photo: Giulia Berto.

As part of National Culture Night 2019, a special event was organized in the Seanscoil, Ceathrú Thaidhg in Erris when artist Gareth Kennedy gave a presentation on a project developed over the last two years on the Dún Chaocháin Peninsula. This grew out of a commission to mark the 25th anniversary of the Tír Sáile Sculpture Trail, which was part of the Mayo 5000 celebrations back in 1993.

In the presentation, Kennedy described the origin of a series of artefacts produced from ancient Erris bogwood in co-operation with local craftspeople, Willie Creighton and Mickey Monaghan, delving into the archaeological record, carbon dating and tree-ring dating (dendrochronology ) and what they reveal about landscape and climate change. Guest speaker on the night was Dr Seamus Caulfield, who gave an account of the origin and ecology of the bog.

A large table fashioned from Erris bog deal which is 4,300 years old was the central attraction for the event, around which there was a feast of local fare. The table was presented to the community for use over the next quarter of a century. The following morning two artefacts were ceremonially buried in Cill Ghallgáin as an experimental archaeological bog burial (or contemporary time rite ) in the presence of the local community.

Kennedy has been working closely with experts in the scientific community as well as local people to build an in-depth understanding of the Dún Chaocháin landscape - reflecting on the last 25 years of life in the area and creating something that will be retrieved from the bog in 25 years time. This project is funded by an Arts Council Participation Award with additional support from Áras Inis Gluaire.

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