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Making the Most of the Banner's Monuments

Clare Champion, Friday, 10th November 2006

Some of Ireland's most important archaeological artefacts have been documented in a unique project now made available by Clare County Library on its website www.clarelibrary.ie. Monuments of County Clare provides descriptions, explanations and visual representations of dozens of artefacts including one of the world's most famous megalithic monuments - Poulnabrone. Tony Killeen, Minister for Labour Affairs will officially launch the project in the de Valera Library, Ennis on Friday, November 17.

Clare has the highest number of archaeological artefacts of any county in Ireland to the extent that the county has been described as one vast open-air museum. In June 2005, Clare County Library obtained funding under the Government's National Digitisation Strategy and Information Society Fund to provide detailed information on dozens of monuments throughout the county. The featured monuments have been categorised using Dúchas classification. They include 5000 year-old portal tombs, the historic towns of Bunratty and Killaloe, medieval altars, 23 surviving crannógs and nineteenth century batteries used by the British Government to defend against a possible Napoleonic attack.

Also featured are hundreds of graveyards, windmills at Lifford and Castlequarter, 220 holy wells, over 100 twelfth century castles, megalithic tombs, 150 old stone churches, 12th century high crosses, round towers and 224 recorded surviving ringforts.

Monuments of County Clare can be accessed through the archaeology page on www.clarelibrary.ie. Individual webpages are assigned to each monument containing the monument classification, its townland, parish and monument number. Web links also enable web users to locate each of the monuments on the 1842 6-inch Ordnance Survey Maps, which were recently digitised and placed on the Clare County Library website.

According to Noel Crowley, Clare County Librarian, "The Monuments of County Clare project will be an invaluable tool for students, reserachers, tourists, the Clare Diaspora and the history and archaeology community throughout the world. It represents another significant step by Clare County Library in promoting the study of local history at home and abroad".

Mr. Crowley also paid tribute to the many individuals and groups who have participated in the project. "The entire project would not have gone ahead without the digitisation grants we received from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge those who assisted in searching the Clare County Library website for existing text and photographic material relating to each monument, the Clare Local Studies Project for typing up material for online publication and those who gave us permission to use extracts from various books and related documents", Mr. Crowley concluded.

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