County Council’s Galway Graveyards Project wins national award

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2020
Pictured receiving The Best Community Engagement Award at the Public Sector Digital Transformation Awards 2023 from Left to right: Brídín Feeney, GIS Support, Galway County Council; Bernie Doherty, Galway Community Archaeologist; Liam Hanrahan, Director of Services, Economic Development and Planning, Galway County Council; Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer, Galway County Council; Cllr. Liam Carroll, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council; Liam Conneally, Chief Executive of Galway County Council; David Nolan, Digital Mapping Consultant; and Barry Doyle, GIS Project Leader, Galway County Council.

Galway County Council has won a national award for its innovative Galway Graveyards Project, which is preserving the county’s heritage.

The council was named overall winner of the ‘Best Community Engagement’ category of the Public Sector Digital Transformation Awards 2023 last night.

The Galway Graveyards Project has mapped over 40,000 graveyard memorial records across County Galway, and made them publicly available online.

Cllr. Liam Carroll, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council said, “The success of the Digital Mapping of Graveyards Project has been years in the making and is the result of forensic research and cutting-edge surveying work by the Local Authority’s Heritage department and local communities across Galway.”

“This has resulted in a body of work that will be of benefit to the diaspora and academia at home and abroad for years to come.”

In the Graveyards Project, the county council worked together with Galway Rural Development, Forum Connemara, The Heritage Council, The National Monuments Service and Galway County Community Archaeology Service.

They provided funding for local groups to employs experts who could train communities to use mobile technology and to undertake drone mapping of graveyards.

This resulted in the public release of 40,000 records from across the county via the Local Authority’s Open Data Portal.

Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer for Galway County Council said, “The aim of the project is to support our diaspora and communities to connect with their past by unlocking valuable graveyard information and making it available as open-source data that is free to use.”

“We are delighted with the positive reaction we have received to making the records publicly available online and this national award will inspire us to further expand the project and develop similar heritage-based digital projects.”

The Galway County Digital Mapping of Graveyards Project may be viewed at galwaycoco.maps.arcgis.com and data.gov.ie.

Organised by The Sunday Business Post, the Public Sector Digital Transformation Awards recognise the achievements of public sector organisations that have made significant contributions to advancing digital transformation across Ireland.

Galway County Council beat off competition from a shortlist of organisations that included Dublin City Council in partnership with Trinity College Dublin, CAWT and Aurion Learning, Longford County Council and Tipperary County Council to win the top award.