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Culture 2000

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Press Comments

The Discovery Programme - Annual Report for 2002, 01.01.2003

Pathways to Cultural Landscape: The Dowris Project -Oct. 2001 to Oct. 2002

The Dowris Project is part of the wider EU supported European Pathways to Cultural Landscape (PCL) project. In Ireland the Heritage Council acts as local contact and invited the Discovery Programme to take part. The result was The Dowris Project.

The intentions of the PCL Project were for each of the twelve partners to undertake a landscape analysis of their own areas, using English Heritage Historic Landscape Characterisation techniques and GIS capabilities.

Work already completed

Work carried out by Dr Eoin Grogan last year focused on the Historic Landscape Characterisation for the area immediately surrounding Dowris in Co. Offaly, This Characterisation was based on various sets of data, which were incorporated into the Discovery Programme GIS.

- The CORRINNE satellite data, which provides modern day information such as agriculture practises, roads and transport systems, town locations, river, lake and mountain systems and other basic general data

- the 6th edition of the Ordinance Survey Maps, which provided data from the early nineteenth century

- Landlord estate maps, again from the early nineteenth-century period, (particularly for the Whigsborough estate, in the bounds of which Dowris itself is located)

- The Bog Commissioner's Report from the nineteenth century

- Records from the National Museum of Ireland on of the Dowris Hoard.

In the past year, Dr Grogan continued this work with a more in-depth focus on the Dowris Hoard. In October 200 I, the Dowris Project hosted an exchange from our German partners, and visited the Dowris study area where Harald Rosmanitz found a small bog idol. A small report on this idol was written and sent to the Project Co-ordinator for inclusion in the website. A report on early peat cutting machinery was also sent to the Co-ordinator.

Rebecca Boyd joined the Dowris Project in November 200 I as a Research Assistant, She spent most of the next six months working on the digitisation of the 1911 OS map series for the counties specifically within the Dowris study area, i.e. Cos. Offaly, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare and Laois. She transferred the data from the maps to the GIS. In particular she looked at all areas and types of wetland, from open lakes to fenland to bogland. She brought this data into the GIS as individual wetland and peatland layers, county by county. This data is now available to all users on the server in the Discovery Programme. Once she had completed this work she began preparing a Historic Landscape Characterisation of the Sheelin-Derravaragh area in North Westmeath. These results were presented at a PCL group meeting in Strakonice, in May 2002, and subsequently at an internal seminar in the Discovery Programme.

Members of staff of the Lake Settlement Project took part in February 2002 in a Historic Landscape Characterisation seminar in Tullamore, organised as part of the EPCL by the Heritage Council. Dr Grogan and Rebecca Boyd attended a project meeting in May in Strakonice in the Czech Republic. Dr Grogan attended a regional seminar in Plas tan y Bwlch in Wales. Dr Lacey and Dr Charles Mount of the Heritage Council attended the project meeting in Halland in Sweden in September. Material was forwarded from the Discovery Programme and the Heritage Council for the Irish version of the 'project folder', and several contributions were made to the project web-page. In addition, three 'stories' relating to the cultural landscape were prepared by the Discovery Programme staff for inclusion in the final project book, which will be published in late 2003.

design: Kai M. Wurm
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