Spike Island Archaeologists Become Cork Rebels!
Tuesday 30th July 2013, Spike Island
Facscintating research into the lives of convicts deterred on Spike Island in the 19th century has been carefully unearthed by a team of international and local student archaeologists.
For the past number of weeks the team, under the guidance of Dr Barra O’Donnabhain, Department of Archaeology UCC, has been excavating the prison buildings and the area thought to have been the convict burial ground on Spike Island, carrying out valuable research into the lives of those imprisoned there between 1847 to 1883.
At a ceremony today to mark the completion of the work, all 30 students, who lived on Spike Island for the duration of the dig, were presented with a personalised Rebel Passport as a small gesture of thanks for their work and a unique memento of their time in Cork.
Presenting the students with Cork Rebel Passports, County Mayor, Cllr Noel O’Connor said: “I am delighted to be presenting you with your very own Rebel Passports as a small token of our appreciation and to remind you that a warm welcome awaits every one of you when you return to Cork, which we hope you will. Some of you have come from as far away as the USA and Canada, others, our nearer neighbours from France, Poland and of course other parts of Ireland. We hope that all of you will go home with very special memories of your time in Cork and that you will all spread the word about what a special part of the world the Cork region is.”
Cllr O’Connor added “The Rebel Passport is an initiative that comes from our forthcoming festival Cork Rebel Week, one of the flagship events of the Gathering, which takes place from 14th – 20th October this year. I hope we will see many of you return with your Rebel Passports for the festivities which will be taking place throughout the region in Cork city and county.”
Also present at the ceremony was Dr Barra O’Donnabhain, UCC, who headed up the research project and gave a short presentation.
He spoke of the importance of the research work. “The project aims to give a voice to the men and boys who were incarcerated and died in the prison during the Victorian era, broadening our understanding of the role of the convict prison as one of the mechanisms by which the empire was established and maintained. I have no doubt that our work here will be of interest internationally and will attract many more international research projects and visitors to the region.”
Dr O’Donnabhain finished by stating: “I would like to personally thank each and every one of the students for their hard work and diligence to the research. I would also like to thank Cork County Council and UCC for facilitating this research project”
For further information on Cork Rebel Week visit www.corkrebelweek2013.com. For further information on the Spike Island Research Project visit www.ucc.ie/en/archaeology. Further information on Spike Island can be viewed on www.spikeislandcork.ie