West Kerry graveyard receives emergency funding

A medieval graveyard in West Kerry has won emergency funds for coastal protection. The funding comes after a long campaign by locals and after it emerged this summer that the site of the graveyard may be more significant archaeologically than was previously thought. In the 16th century up to 600 people were slaughtered in the seige of the Dun an Oir Fortress at Smerick Harbour. A number of leading Elizabethan figures were among the perpetrators of the siege including poet Sir Edmund Spenser and explorer Sir Walter RaleighIt’s believed that many of those killed were beheaded and buried at Teampall ban .Over the last few years it emerged that the graveyard was being washed into the sea and parts of human skeletons and heads began to appear on the beach and in the water. A major campaign was launched and efforts to protect the graveyard got a huge boost this summer with the sudden appearance of older archaeological artefacts. Senior Department of the Environment archaeologists visited the site and began negotiations with the Department of the Marine. Now an initial amount of up to 200 thousand euro has been approved and work has begun to stop the erosion – meaning an excavation can also begin to find out exactly what’s in the site.

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