Why About Armagh?
A few years ago, I took an interest in the places local to me. Armagh City is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland and where St. Patrick founded his main church. Navan Fort was the ancient capital of Ulster. This seemed a good place to start.
The more I read, the more I realised how little I knew about the history and culture associated with the area I grew up.
I stumbled across two great websites which list and give information on archaeology, industry, people and old buildings:
1. www.communities-ni.gov.uk/services/historic-environment-map-viewer for Northern Ireland.
2. https://archaeology.ie for Republic of Ireland.
There are many versions of the maps on both websites, dating back as far as the 1830s, and lots of useful tools linked to these maps.
I continued to collect information, but with no real sense of what I would use it for. However, as I have always loved studying maps and have an interest in archaeology and history, I found the journey to be an enjoyable one. Often, I would leave this alone and work on something else.
Within a few years I had collected information on places all over the nine counties of Ulster and a few adjoining. This was done by adding points to Google Maps.
In 2021 Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council bid to become "UK City of Culture 2025". A record twenty bids were submitted from various cities and regions across the UK. On 8 October 2021, eight bids were longlisted, including Armagh’s. However, the bid failed to make a shortlist of four, the eventual winner was Bradford.
It was also during 2021 when I came across two papers about an old poem from the Book of Leinster (published 1160). The papers were by the County Louth Archaeological and History Society (CLAHS), one from 1932 and the second from 1933. The poem, entitled “An Ancient Poet’s View from Sliabh Fuaid”, was about the poet sitting on a high place and reciting some of the things in view. The two papers were an attempt, by CLAHS, to work out where the poet was sitting.
I decided to have a go at solving this - you can read my findings at https://sites.google.com/view/sliabhfuaid. The findings show the poem was more about recounting the history of the Irish People up to that point. The poem is an incredible piece of literature.
Before I found the Sliabh Fuaid poem, I knew little about Irish Mythology, Folklore or History. However, after doing so, I learned so much and found it amazing.
Through the above I got an idea of where I could take this project. I thought if a poet can sit on top of a hill, 900 years ago, and tell the history of Irish People through describing a few places; then surely, I can tell much of the Story of Ireland through its most historical County and City. I believe this has been achieved, especially through the "Folklore & Stories" section of this website.
I often found myself crossing the boundary into neighbouring counties to add extra information.
Although I took many photos and a videos, the project was too large to do everything myself. Luckily, there are many resources publicly available on the Internet such as photos, videos, informative websites, etc. I have included the best I could find.
Just a thought: Should the island of Ireland ever hold a County of Culture, History, Folklore, etc., I believe this website is the first of its kind and could possibly help Armagh with its bid. Also, it would be great if other counties compiled something similar to this to promote themselves.
There's a lot of information on here. Just take it one point at a time and enjoy.
The photo at the top is an old photo of Armagh Observatory, colourised by Martin McGoldrick. See lots more similar of Armagh City at https://armaghi.com/news/armagh-news/flash-of-genius-as-co-armagh-man-brings-colour-and-life-to-bygone-memories-in-picture-perfect-style/128243
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