Graduate students in the historic preservation program will spend much of the month of June documenting Molana Abbey in County Cork, Ireland. Working with archaeologists from University College, Cork in Ireland and Mercer University in the U.S., the team of historic preservation students will produce architectural documentation drawings and a conditions assessment report that will support stabilization and repairs to be carried out by the Irish Ancient Monuments Commission. Starting June 16, 2012, students will spend two weeks completing a map of the site as well as plans and elevation drawings of the ruin in an effort to figure out how the abbey changed over the course of its one thousand year history.
“Molana Abbey is in need of repair and the drawings we produce will help guide the work of the masons and conservators who will follow us,” said Carter L. Hudgins, director of the historic preservation program. “This was a unique opportunity for us. It’s not often that students have a chance to work with sites for this length of time and assume responsibility for documentation that will shape repairs to ensure the abbey survives for another thousand years.”
Part of the attraction of this project lies in the abbey’s ownership for a brief period in the late 16th century by English polymath Thomas Hariot, one of Sir Walter Raleigh’s protégés and the “science officer” of the second failed effort to establish an English colony on Roanoke Island in what is now North Carolina. The changes Hariot made to the abbey fit into a broader study of how the English colonization Ireland in the 16th and 17th centuries acted as a kind of dress rehearsal for the seventeenth-century colonization of Virginia and New England.
Molana Abbey is located on Ballynatray Estate on the banks of the Blackwater River and is linked to the beginnings of Christianity in Ireland. Founded in 501AD, the abbey became an important early center of religious learning. The earliest surviving portions of the abbey are said to date to the 11th century.
For more information about this project, contact Allisyn Miller at 843.937.9596.