Graveyards are an important feature of the historic landscape and frequently provide clues to understanding our past. Our graveyards contain the remains of our ancestors but they also contain many significant structures, historical and archaeological. Because of the undisturbed nature of these sites, graveyards can also be an oasis for a rich variety of plants and animals.
Aghmacart Graveyard : As well as being important for archaeology and genealogy, graveyards are often valuable wildlife habitats
A survey of all burial grounds in Laois was carried out in 2011. A total of 208 burial ground were recorded. The full report on the survey is available to download: Volume I contains a description of the survey aims, methodology and key conclusions. Volume II contains a detailed gazetteer with descriptions of each burial ground recorded.
In addition to the reports, details of all the graveyards in Laois have also been uploaded to the Historic Graves Website where a description of the site, and details of any memorial and oral history recording carried out at these sites can also be viewed. If you have recorded memorials in your local graveyard, this data can be uploaded to the Historic Graves website, allowing your research to be shared with anyone with an interest in Laois heritage worldwide.
The survey was carried out by Barker & Associates Archaeologists on behalf of Laois Heritage Forum, with the support of the Heritage Council.
A great deal of cultural and genealogical information can be gleaned from the inscriptions in headstones in our historic graveyards. In 2011, in partnership with Laois Partnership, we commenced a programme of community training in memorial recording. The aim of this was not only to record the details on the headstones around the county, but also to build capacity within each community in
The training was provided by Eachtra Archaeology and the results have been uploaded to the Historic Graves Website. It is hoped that further training and memorial recording will continue in future years.
There is great interest in researching the graveyards and memorials of Laois. Some resources you may find interesting are detailed below. (Please note these websites are external to Laois County Counci).
Run by Dr Jane Lyons, this website contains tremendous resource for anyone interested in the history of Ireland. Gravestone inscriptions and photographs from all over the country are included with a large number from Laois. There is also a vast amount of information on researching genealogy in Ireland, with information on official sources, including civil birth, marriage and death registers, census records amd much more. The site also has a related Facebook page.
This website offers assistance to those trying to trace their Laois or Queens' County ancestors, using a combination of headstone inscriptions and published papers.
The Family History Centre for Laois and Offaly provides a fee-based genealogy research service.
All work in graveyards must be carefully planned. The Heritage Officer is available to discuss any works planned for caring for your graveyard and to outline the help that may be available. A checklist of good practice for groups planning to undertake any work in a graveyard is available to download.
Early Christian grave slabs at the graveyard at Clonenagh near Mountrath
For information on graveyards managed by Laois County Council, and funding for graveyard committees, click here.