Introduction to the Connacht Project

 Rathcroghan Mound kite aerial photograph

The Connacht Project is an inter-disciplinary and collaborative research initiative by the School of Humanities and School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway, under the joint direction of an tOllamh Máirín Ní Dhonnchadha, for its historical and literary component, and Professor John Waddell, Dr Kieran O’Conor and Joe Fenwick for its archaeological component. The principal aim of the Project, which is divided into three related parts, is to combine data from the extremely rich literary and surviving historical sources relating to the province with the extensive archaeological evidence from the region to understand the development of society and the landscape in Connacht from the earliest times but mainly from later prehistory to more recent times. An important question for the Project, too, is to comprehend how early and later medieval peoples in Connacht viewed their landscape and how they explained its evolution over time, as well as the contemporary world around them. Furthermore, using the rich dataset and inter-disciplinary evidence from Connacht, the Project aspires to take part in current international debates about how society, settlement and landscape developed, particularly throughout these islands and north-western Europe.

Lastly, as the research evolves, it has become abundantly clear to the academic participants in the Connacht Project that local communities throughout the province in recent years have become increasingly interested in their heritage, for a variety of economic, educational and social reasons. In response to this growing interest, the Project will endeavour to share its research with local communities and heritage networks throughout the province but most particularly in Co. Roscommon. This has involved numerous lectures and the preparation of guidebooks and guide-leaflets and Information Boards for important monuments and archaeological complexes in the county to enhance the cultural tourism experience at these places. This will bring a sense of pride of place, an awareness of cultural value and an economic gain to the parishes and regions in which these monuments and complexes are located.

The three related divisions of the overall project are: 

1. The Connacht Project.

Exploring the Medieval Literature and Related Archaeology of Connacht

 Rathcroghan Mound Gradiometry 2013

2. The Connacht Project.

Settlement, Society, Frontier and Landscape in Medieval Connacht

 Research Connacht Rathbrennan

3. The Connacht Project.

Community Outreach: Sharing Research with Connacht Communities
conjectural reconstruction of Rathcroghan Mound during the Iron Age
copyright of JG O'Donoghue / Roscommon County Council