July 6, 2018
This week intern Madeleine Harris learns about the discipline of oral histories, travels to Maynooth University and re-visits the Irish National Heritage Park to finalize logistics. The range of activities indicates just how holistic our unique Winter internship is.
by Madeleine Harris
This was my second week in Birr, but we spent nearly as much time traveling as we did in the office! On Monday, I went with Denis to a meeting with a historical group in Kilcormac, a nearby town. They were interested in creating an oral history project involving the community, particularly the people who worked on the bogs. It was a great learning opportunity for myself, as I knew very little about either aspect. I loved learning about the process behind the project and the steps required to begin creating an oral history.
Afterwards, we walked through Lough Boora, a massive park situated on a reclaimed peat bog, where I was able to learn even more about this unique landscape and the business surrounding it.
Any spare time this week was spent working on my archaeology impact assessments for both Paul’s Lane Loop and the Glinsk Castle Loop. I paid a visit to the Birr library, where I perused the local history section and researched the two areas. The assessments need to include a section about the history of the affected area, and the local library is often one of the only places with a collection of such information. Once the historical summary is finished, the only section left to complete is Appendix 2: Archaeological Finds. For this, we had to make an appointment at the National Museum of Ireland, and expect to go next Friday.
Wednesday was an early morning, as we took a trip to Wexford and visited the Irish National Heritage Park. We checked on the site, picked up some forgotten items, and met with Chris Hayes, the outdoor park manager. We discussed topics such as future infrastructure plans for the site and site-office, marketing tactics and future videos, and preparations for the upcoming programs. I enjoyed the opportunity to hear about aspects of the company, and the industry in general, that one would never think about when discussing archaeology. Even though we had only been away for two weeks, it was great to visit the park and see the site again. I hope to be back again in the future!
After continuing my research in the morning, the majority of Thursday was spent on the road again, as we traveled to Maynooth University. Denis spoke to students in the anthropology department and presented their upcoming summer programs. The IAFS is offering both forensic and physical archaeology modules to Maynooth students in June, which would be a terrific opportunity for them to gain hands-on experience. We also took this opportunity to meet with the Anthropology Department head and faculty, and explored the campus a bit.
After a week of adventures, Friday was spent back in the office. Denis and I took this day to accomplish a few projects, evaluate our to-do list, and discuss our goals and plans for the following week, which include even more day-trips!