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New details on 18th century grave uncovered during shopping centre construction

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EXCLUSIVE

By Sean Moriarty

Some fascinating new information has come to light on the grave uncovered during the construction of the new Aldi store on Park Road.

INSCRIPTION: Researchers were able to decipher some but not all of the inscription

MAPS: An old map show the potential location of the original grave and and its current location

UNCOVERED: The grave at Aldi as it was found during construction

PRESS CUTTING: How the Killarney Advertiser reported the discovered grave

PROTECTED: Mayor Marie Moloney and Padraig Barry of Aldi at the protected grave outside a Killarney shopping centre

Last week, the Killarney Advertiser revealed that an ancient grave was discovered during the construction phase of the new store.

Aldi have preserved the grave, which is dated from the 1800s, and have placed a protection railing around it.

It is the company’s intention to place an information lectern on the railing so local people will be able to learn about the history of the unusual find.

Aldi employed the services of Cork-based archaeology firm John Cronin and Associates and the Killarney Advertiser was given exclusive access to the report.

The report was prepared by Peter Looney of John Cronin & Associates, with assistance from Ita O’Brien, Andras Hindli and John Cronin.

UNCOVERED

The stone was found in its current location, but within a disused barn, during the early site clearance works in November 2018 and the scene was preserved until Cronin and Associates examined it in greater detail.

“The slab was lying face down on the surface of the rubble layer and consists of a single block of limestone carved and shaped into an elongated six-sized shield to resemble a coffin lid measuring max 2.2m long and max 0.95m wide,” says the report. “Five lines of text are carved on the right-hand side of the cross.”

Expert archaeologists were able to decipher some but not all of the text. It reads:

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF MARGARET SHEA
WHO DIED SPT_____________________
May She rest in peace Amen
ERECTED AS A MEMORIAL OF AFFECTION BY HER HUSBAND JEREMIAH SHEA.

“Shea is a frequent surname in County Kerry, and both Margaret and Jeremiah are also widespread. Without a date - which it is hoped may yet be deciphered -it may not be possible to identify exactly who the people named on the stone are,” says the report.

According to members of the Lyne family, the previous owners of the site, the grave slab belonged to their father and was in their possession until the turn of the century when its whereabouts became unknown.

Mr Tom Lyne – who used the barn adjacent to where the slab was uncovered before construction began - described growing up with the slab always within the courtyard of the family’s farmstead which would have extended into the current find spot.

“He indicated that the slab would have been standing against a boundary wall. It seems likely that slab was abandoned with the farmstead as it fell into disuse in the latter half of the 20th century, eventually falling over on its face (the position it was uncovered in) and its whereabouts becoming lost to the family. Thus, the grave-slab is most likely ex-situ having been brought to the area with the Lyne family around the 1900’s when the family farmstead was built adjacent to the southwest corner of the subject site,” adds the report.

It is believed the grave was originally located in a burial ground where the Lewis Road is now and that it may have been moved to its current location when that town centre road was being built.

RARE

“That area is now built up, mostly with residential properties. It can be assumed that many of the gravestones that were in the original Killarney Burial Ground were moved off-site and that may have been what happened to the subject stone, which then came into the possession of the Lyne family,” adds the report.

“Three local graveyards: Muckross Abbey, Killegy Lower and New Cemetery, Coolcorcoran, were visited in December 2020 to ascertain if there are any similar types of grave memorial. No stone of a similar shape was found in any of these three local graveyards.

“Only two examples were found to take a similar form: one of which was the same general shape as the example found at Ardshanavooly in Killarney. This stone, in the graveyard in Oola, County Limerick is also pointed at the top and bottom. This stone is very worn and only the initials ‘C B’ could be read. Therefore, despite the shared unusual shape, the stone at Oola cannot offer any clue towards the age of the Killarney stone.”

A second slab is at Abbeylands, County Waterford and is dated 1854.

“Once weather conditions allow, it is proposed to make a further attempt at deciphering the second line of the text inscription. This is the line that is likely to have a date inscribed and thereby add significantly to our knowledge of the history of the stone if it can be read. A rubbing was attempted in December 2020 but was unsuccessful as the surface of the stone was wet. When the stone is dry, it is likely that a rubbing will be more successful.”

FUTURE PLANS

Once all of the research work is complete a low-height lectern with an inclined tray will be placed adjacent to the presentation plinth to allow people to learn about the origins of the grave slab and reproduce the weathered inscription.

“The interpretative opportunity here is to encourage those interested to see if they can discern the inscription, and to reflect on the care and attention wrought on this memorial to a loved one and to consider how such an object found its way to this location,” concludes the report.

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Wildflowers are not always simple to grow

By Debby Looney, gardening expert There is nothing quite like the low, humming sound of insects in the garden. I always find the different pitches of the buzzing fascinating, from […]

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By Debby Looney, gardening expert

There is nothing quite like the low, humming sound of insects in the garden. I always find the different pitches of the buzzing fascinating, from the drone of a big, furry bumble bee to the high pitched whirring of hoverflies.

And wasps always seem to have a dangerous sound – it is unique to them, in any case. It is possible to help pollinators into your garden at almost any time of the year, solitary bees such as bumbles and leafcutter bees, will come out of hibernation on a sunny December day if there are some heather flowers nearby. tulips, hyacinths, crocus and snowdrops provide sustenance in early spring, along with shrubs such as hamamelis, daphne, viburnum and willow. In April, the small flowers of the field maple attract many insects, as do the large trumpet shaped flowers of rhododendrons and azaleas. Wildflowers are now beginning to bloom, and they are the subject of today’s column!

While it seems counterintuitive, wildflowers are not always simple to grow, especially as we mean ‘pretty meadow blooms’ as opposed to ‘weeds’! Creating an area for wildflowers takes some preparation. Most important is that it is a weed free area. Kill off any grass or weeds before sowing, either by using conventional weedkillers, or by laying down a sheet of black polythene or weed suppressant. Make sure any seeds which germinate are removed also, and that problematic plants such as rushes, are dug out. Most importantly, ensure all grass is gone, as wildflowers do not compete well against its vigorous growth. Rake the top layer of the soil loose to a fine tilth, and do not add fertiliser! Wildflowers will generally not do well in a rich soil. When your area is ready, decide which seeds are best for your spot. There is much to choose from, for example, single varieties such as ragged Robin, teasels and poppies, or mixtures. There are seed mixes for perennial meadows, ones which attract birds – these usually have a high volume of seed bearing flowers, mixes for bees, ladybirds or certain colour mixes. There are also soil specific mixes.

SOWING SEEDS

Sow your seeds thinly and evenly onto the prepared ground. I tend to cover with netting at this time of year, because, although it is the best time of year to sow, and there is a very high germination rate, birds are also a problem!

The only maintenance really is to keep an eye on slug damage – I scatter in a few pellets when I sow anything – and if there are very dense clumps of seedlings forming, thin them out. When the flowers have gone to seed in the autumn, just cut them to ground level, leave the cuttings a few days for the seeds to drop out, and rake the foliage up. If left to rot in situ, it will make the soil too fertile for a good display the following year.

I mention the use of slug pellets. To the best of my knowledge, the use of metaldehyde poison in slug pellets has been banned for a few years now, and pellets are made of ferric phosphate which is not harmful to pets or birds unless ingested in very large amounts. However, there are some ingredients used in slug pellets which may potentially cause damage to earthworms and other soil dwellers, so please, always use sparingly and where possible, not at all!

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Routine and balance are crucial in the run up to exams

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors As you approach the countdown to the beginning of the Junior and Leaving Cert Exams on June 8, it […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

As you approach the countdown to the beginning of the Junior and Leaving Cert Exams on June 8, it is very important to maintain a healthy balance so that you can pace yourself properly.

It can be tempting to try to pack in long hours of last minute study at this stage and become more focused on what you don’t know instead of what you do! Stress is a normal part of facing exams and in fact a certain amount of it is helpful to ensure that it mobilises you to perform well, but it is essential that you keep it, and the exams, in perspective. After many years of supporting students before, during and after exams, I know too well how overwhelming the experience can be so I urge you to do everything you can to look after your well-being at this stage.

Before the exams

Stick to a good routine with a healthy balance in terms of revision, rest, fresh air, sleep and diet. Don’t be tempted to work late at night as it is usually unproductive and impacts on your concentration the following day. Approach your last minute revision in a targeted way with the guidance you have been given by your teachers. Have a schedule with your exam dates/times highlighted hanging up where it is obvious and visible at home and take a photo to save on your phone.

During the exams

Set two alarms for the mornings of exams and allow lots of extra time. You will need to be in your assigned seat in the exam centre at least 30 minutes before the start of the exam on day one and 15 minutes before all other exams. Hydration is really important during the exams to help with concentration so make sure you have plenty of water. The first thing to do when you look at the paper is to read the instructions carefully, your teacher will have gone through these many times with you. Mark all the questions you are going to do and write out a quick time plan for yourself. Focus on exactly what you are being asked; the most common feedback from examiners is that students give a lot of irrelevant information so keep glancing back at the question to keep yourself on task to target the marks.

Breathing

If you feel you are becoming really anxious in the exam hall, focus on controlling your breath to bring a sense of calm. Breathe in through your nose for two seconds, hold your breath for one second, and breathe out through your mouth for four seconds. Repeat for one minute.

After the exam

Try to avoid too much discussion after each paper, ‘post-mortems’ of the exams are rarely helpful and can add to stress levels so once each exam is done, take a break and then move on to preparing for the next one. I can tell you that regardless of what happens in each exam, you will have lots of options available to you and an interesting journey ahead.

Keep in mind that while the Leaving Cert is an important exam and big milestone, it will not define you for the rest of your life. Best of luck to the class of 2022!

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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