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Landscape as Witness - Field Trip: Day 5

After acquiring a number of possible sources yesterday, I spent the morning following them up at the research facility. I contacted the researcher in NUI Galway, as their current project is focusing on the archaeology of the famine in North Clare, specifically the famine villages and workhouses around Ballyvaughan. I was also able to analyse the map of the area that I had been given and made an attempt to determine whether or not certain green roads were built during the famine, as the tourist office had suggested. To do this, I had a look at some old OSI maps. I have briefly touched on this subject in one of my posts earlier on in the year, but I can explain it in more detail here.

There is a 'Historical Mapping' section on the OSI website that contains various maps of Ireland from as early as 1829, up until 1913. For the purposes of my research, I analyse maps dated from 1829-41 (pre-famine) and 1897-1913 (post-famine). Firstly, I locate the road in question on a modern map:

From there, I attempt to find the same road on the 1897-1913 map:

Lastly, I look for the same road on the 1829-41 map:

If I find the road on the 1829-41 map, this proves that the road in question could not have been built during the Great Famine, which lasted from about 1845-52. However, if I am unable find the road on the 1829-41 map but I am able to find it on the 1897-1913 map, this means that the road must have been built sometime between 1842 and 1913. Therefore, there is a possibility that it was built during the famine years.

Of course this should not be applied to just any old road, as there were plenty of non-famine related roads built in Ireland between 1842 and 1913. However, if it is common knowledge that a certain road was built during the famine, then this method is a pretty good way of proving it.

After analysing the maps, I made my way down the road to a spot that I had photographed during my previous field trip, just after the turn-off to the Burren Perfumery. There had been intense rainfall in the area prior to my visit in January, so the turloughs around Carron had been completely flooded. Below are two images, the first taken in January and the second taken today. I will more than likely be returning to the spot to attempt a perfect recreation, but this will do for now.

The turloughs around Carron were of great significance to my project back in January/February, so much so that I documented them almost as much as the famine constructions themselves. I had actually filmed a 20-minute piece of this flooded road from a fixed point, and I had been contemplating using the same method today. However, due to the road no longer being flooded, as well as the fact that it is mid-summer, I was only be able to have my camera set up for about 5 minutes at most before a car drove down the road. I will be attempting to recreate some more images/video pieces over the coming weeks, to further capture this dramatic change in the landscape.

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