About the Blackfriary Community Heritage & Archaeology Project

The Blackfriary Community Heritage and Archaeology Project (BCHAP) is at the Black Friary, the site of a 13th century, late medieval, Dominican Friary in the town of Trim, Co. Meath. Trim is in the Boyne River valley; the valley is home to some of the most significant archaeological and cultural heritage sites in Ireland and Europe, including Brú na Boínne, the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The site has been the focus of archaeological research excavations since 2010 by the Irish Archaeology Field School (IAFS), providing university accredited, site-based archaeological research and training within an established research framework led by a team of highly qualified and experienced archaeologists.

The IAFS carry out archaeological research excavation, with a strong teaching component, to allow students and visitors a first hand and unique experience of discovering the past. Students of the school undertake all aspects of an archaeological excavation and discovery at the site and contribute to the community project.

The project is a community based project, with a number of stakeholders and supporters, including the local authority, state bodies, and expert groups. The field school is closely tied to its sister companies CRDS Ltd. (CRM), and Cultural Tourism Ireland (cultural heritage experiences). The IAFS was founded by EurGeol Dr. Stephen Mandal MIAI PGeo and Finola O’Carroll MA MIAI MRPA. The teaching staff include Finola O’Carroll MRPA MIAI, Dr. Rachel Scott MAIA, Dr. Denis Shine, and EurGeol Dr. Stephen Mandal MIAI PGeo. The excavation directors are supported by a number of highly trained and enthusiastic supervisors and a team of specialists covering everything from human and animal osteoarchaeology, to geology and architectural heritage.

The project has received a great deal of support from a diverse group of institutions and individual, nationally and internationally, including:

  • Trim Town Council and Meath County Council
  • the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht towards (under the built heritage element of the Environmental Fund)
  • the National Monuments Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government (the Irish government body responsible for the protection of our heritage, who issue the license to excavate the site)
  • The local community
  • Meath Tourism
  • The Heritage Council
  • The Archaeological Institute of America (through the Site Preservation Program)

The project has already received widespread recognition in Ireland and internationally, including:

One of the TOP TEN worldwide destinations to visit, as chosen by CNN Travel

Included in Keith Bellows (Editor of the National Geographic Magazine) book 100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life: From Your Backyard to the Ends of the Earth

Winner of the Small Business Marketing Award at the 2012 Meath Business and Tourism Awards

Receiving an Honourable Mention in the 2012 Education Travel Community Responsible Tourism Showcase Awards

Being showcased at the Archaeological Institute of America Gala in New York in April 2011 and being awarded funding under the Institute’s Site Preservation Program

Making it to the final 25 shortlist of over 9000 entries in Ireland’s 2010 Your Country Your Call competition.

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