Work Experience Report

September 16th - October 28th 2022

James Spellman

Covered Statue, Temple Jarlath
James Spellman 2022
Round Tower, Kilcloona
James Spellman 2022
Grave of Bishop Burke, KIlcroan
James Spellman 2022
James at Issertkelly 2022
B. Doherty 2022

For my first term of Transition Year at Saint Raphaels College I chose do my work experience with Community Archaeologist Bernie Doherty. I have always had an interest in History and Geography at school so I knew I would enjoy exploring the sites and finding out more about the past. I was also interested in both the photography and website elements of this position. I had an enjoyable time exploring the world of archaeology and getting an idea of what the day-to-day life is like. 

Sites Visited

We went to 5 sites throughout the 5 weeks of work experience, Temple Jarlath, Kilcoona, Kilcroan, IssertKelly and Abbeygormacan. While they were all graveyards each one was distinct from the last and showed me something new.  At Temple Jarlath we met Galway County Council Engineer, Community Employment Scheme Supervisor and a representative from The Old Tuam Society. We discussed the possibility of funding a cleanup at the site.

At Kilcloona we met a representative from the local heritage group who needed advice on clearing ivy off a round tower within the local graveyard. At Kilcroan the local graveyard committee needed advice on the restoration of a Bishop’s memorial and the clearance of overgrowth within the ruins of a late medieval church.

Issertkelly Church Ruins

At Issertkelly we met with a conservation team in the process of preparing a conservation management plan for the site. This included a Conservation Architect, Consultant Archaeologist,  Structural Engineer and Conservation and Heritage Contractor. The following visit to Issertkelly involved the monitoring of clearance works at the site. We recorded a number of graveslabs which were just uncovered. We also visited Abbeygormacan. Conservation Works at this site had just recently been completed.


I was given access and shown how to add posts to the Galway Community Heritage Website. I wrote up my own report for KIlcroan Graveyard and in doing so learnt a lot about what it’s like to make and structure reports. I also discovered many facts about the graveyard which I didn’t know before. I was made aware of many sites which house historical information, which will be very helpful going forward 

Overall, I had a great time during this work experience term and I feel like I have learnt a lot about what it means to be an archaeologist  

This page was added on 28/10/2022.

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