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Back Row:

Gerard Tully, Frank Curley, Norman Sinclair, Eamon Lally, Douglas Rafter, Joe Flaherty, Packie Callaghan, Seamus Callaghan.
Front Row:

Carmel Murray, Adeline Finneran, Sean Kelly, Joe Molloy, Eileen Curley, Ann Gately, Colette Hanrahan.
Inset: Richard Kilgannon, Ellen Brennan, Fiona Maguire.

The Clontuskert Heritage Group, founded in the early days of 2005, consists of a group of eighteen people from a variety of backgrounds who worked for almost five years, researching and writing the publication, The Parish of Clontuskert - Glimpses into its Past.

Recording the Headstone Memorials in Clontuskert was our second project, undertaken with the help and encouragement of the Galway County Council Heritage section.

Our present project involves our research and contact work with the Ireland Reaching Out project, I.R.O.

1. The Parish of Clontuskert - Glimpses into its Past.

The first major project undertaken by the Clontuskert Heritage Group was the publication of The Parish of Clontuskert - Glimpses into its Past.

The group shared a desire to preserve as much of the heritage of Clontuskert as was feasible, before it would have been lost forever. Estate records, Famine Commission reports, Church, Army and Education records, local and national newspapers, photographic archives, interviews with older parishioners - all of these sources were examined in the course of researching the publication.

By publishing the book, the group hoped to raise an awareness of Clontuskert's rich cultural heritage and to facilitate parishioners in researching the history of their own families.

The book tells the story of the rural East Galway parish of Clontuskert through a series of glimpses into its past. It begins with the earliest evidence of human activity in the parish during the early Mesolithic period almost eight thousand years ago and continues into the latter half of the twentieth century.

The publication portrays Clontuskert as a dynamic and ever changing place that has a very long and varied heritage. Permanent structures such as the Bronze Age fulachta fiadh and burial barrows, over a hundred ringforts, the Augustinian Priory of St. Mary, the Churches of St. Mathew in Glenloughaun and St. Augustine's in Crossconnell, the Grand Canal, the Lismanny house out-buildings, the schools, the houses and farm buildings, are all legacies of past generations that have left their mark on the landscape of Clontuskert.

A very important facet of the publication is the inclusion of an excellent photographic and pictorial record of the parish. The school photographs in particular will stir up old memories. Accompanying the sports chapter is an invaluable photographic record of the people who left their mark on the sporting heritage of Clontuskert.

The raison d'Ítre of the book is the development of an understanding, knowledge and pride in the built, natural and cultural heritage of Clontuskert.

The Heritage Group extends its gratitude to all who assisted in the publication of the book, generously giving of their time and expertise while providing information maps, photographs, access to archives and financial assistance. Read an extract from the book >>

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2. The Headstone Recording Project.

Clontuskert Heritage Group, in partnership with Galway County Council and Galway Rural Development, has embarked on an ambitious project to digitally map, transcribe and photograph the grave-plots and headstones in the three cemeteries of the parish - St. Augustine's in Crossconnell, St. Matthew's Glenloughaun and the Old Abbey.

Even though many of the headstones were difficult to read, the Heritage Group members stuck to their task and painstakingly recorded the details, often despite the inclemency of the weather.

The memorials in each cemetery have been photographed and the inscriptions put onto a database. Cartographer Padraig Higgins has produced a very detailed map of each graveyard. A map board has been placed in St. Matthew's and St. Augustine's to help visitors find their family plot. The map board for the Old Abbey will be erected as soon as permission has been obtained from the Board of Works.

The information was sent to Galway County Council where the GIS Officers, Mark Conroy and Bridin Feeney and Webmaster Ciaran O'Donnell have formatted the information so that it can be accessed on Google Earth at the Galway County Council website The results of this project should prove invaluable to people who wish to locate their loved ones' graves in Clontuskert.

Anybody with internet access will be able to see exactly where their family is buried and see a photograph of the grave and headstone. They will also have access to the memorial transcriptions and this is particularly useful where a headstone is difficult to read.

The results for St. Augustine's cemetery are now available at

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3. The Ireland Reaching Out Programme

Our Heritage Group has accepted an invitation to become involved in an interesting and exciting pilot programme, the "Ireland Reaching Out" (IRO or Irelandxo) Project. This is an Irish Government sponsored programme established to connect, on a parish-by-parish basis, people abroad of Irish heritage, with those living in Ireland. The national pilot project is being organised within thirty parishes in South-East Galway. It aims to expand the geographical communities as they are today into global "virtual" communities, facilitating intimate and richly rewarding contact between members of the Diaspora and the home parishes.

In late June of this year, 2011, the parish of Clontuskert is organising a festive "Week of Welcomes" to which we are inviting thirty members of the parish's Diaspora (i.e. emigrants of the parish - or their descendants), to visit the area for one week. Participants will be welcomed to the parish through a comprehensive selection of tours, activities and events. The purpose is not only to make people acquainted with their parish of origin, but to give them the opportunity to learn more about their Irish Heritage, through history lectures, craft sessions, sporting or work activities. It should be a life experience to be remembered. The South-East Galway "Week of Welcomes" of June 2011 should prove to be a very special occasion. It will also receive international TV, Radio and Press coverage.

For the past three months, we have re-examined the documents we had researched for the book, as well as the headstone inscriptions in our three cemeteries, to find the names of people who once lived in this parish. We have also distributed survey sheets to the people of Clontuskert. To date, we have discovered the names of more than one hundred and seventy people who have emigrated from this parish and whose descendants live abroad.

If any person of Clontuskert descent has not been contacted, please let us know by emailing

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