Free tour of ecclesiastical sites in East Galway planned for International Day for Monuments and Sites

Abbeygormican, East Galway.
Galway is set to celebrate International Day for Monuments and Sites on 18 April with a free bus tour of select ecclesiastical sites, including Abbeygormican, pictured here (© Galway County Council).

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A free tour will showcase select ecclesiastical sites in East Galway to celebrate this year’s International Day for Monuments and Sites.

Members of the public and community organizations are invited to embark on an immersive exploration of East Galway’s rich ecclesiastical heritage on Thursday, 18 April, to mark International Day for Monuments and Sites 2024 (also known as World Heritage Day). A complimentary bus tour of select ecclesiastical sites across the region has been arranged for the occasion.

To celebrate the annual UNESCO-supported initiative, Galway Community Archaeology Project and Galway County Council have organized a free bus tour featuring visits to Kilboght Church and Graveyard, Abbeygormican and St Kerrill’s Abbey in Gurteen. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the ongoing local community initiatives aimed at preserving and promoting these important, though lesser-known, heritage sites.

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Gurteen Community Council, Kilboght Graveyard Heritage Group and Abbeygormican Cemetery Group all worked with Galway Community Archaeology Project and the local authority to secure funding through the Community Monuments Fund to prepare conservation management plans and undertake conservation works at each site.

Whether you’re engaged in community initiatives, have a passion for archaeology or ecclesiastical heritage, or want to learn more about conservation projects, this tour promises an enjoyable and educational day out.

>>> READ MORE: Galway’s award-winning digital graveyard project records over 40,000 memorials

Bernie Doherty of Galway Community Archaeology Project explained the motivation behind the scheduled events:

“The aim of International Day for Monuments and Sites is to encourage local groups and individuals to consider the importance of cultural heritage to their lives, identities and communities, and to promote awareness of its diversity and vulnerability and the efforts required to protect and conserve it. We very much look forward to hosting a fun and informative day for everyone who takes part in the tour of Kilboght, Abbeygormican and St Kerrill’s.”

Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer with Galway County Council, commented,

“The organized tour of East Galway sites presents an excellent opportunity for heritage groups to learn from the experiences of their counterparts elsewhere in the county and how they might implement similar conservation projects in their respective communities. Promoting our built heritage is critically important, while it also benefits the local economy in light of the growth of heritage tourism.”

A bus will leave the offices of Galway County Council on Prospect Hill at 9.30 am on Thursday, 18 April, with pick-ups at Oranmore, Athenry, Galway Plaza and Loughrea. Further details of the free tour, including bus collection times, are available from the Galway Community Archaeology Project websiteEventbrite or from Bernie Doherty (email: g.c.archaeology@gmail.com; phone: 086 1003888). Closing date for bookings is Monday, 15 April.

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