Interpreting the Archaeology & History of the War of Independence: The New Midleton Ambush Interpretive Panel

The Interpretive Panel designed by Abarta Heritage Ltd in association with the Landscapes of Revolution Project and with the support of Midleton and Ballincurra Area Heritage. Funding was provided by Cork County Council as part of the County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme and the Midleton Town Development Fund. Click image to Enlarge (Landscapes of Revolution Project)

One of the main aims of the Landscapes of Revolution Project is to identify and raise awareness of the surviving landscapes of our revolutionary past, and offer communities new ways of conceptualising and interacting with the history and archaeology of the period. Over recent years, the project has invested considerable time in analysing the 1920 Midleton Ambush; identifying buildings and sites associated with it, mapping the event and its physical remains, and sharing our findings with the local community. Now a major milestone has been reached in promoting awareness of this urban conflict landscape. It comes in the form of this exciting new interpretive panel, which you can explore above (Click on the image to enlarge it). Designed and illustrated by Sara Nylund from the Project Partners Abarta Heritage Ltd in conjunction with Damian Shiels, we hope that the panel will be erected permanently in the town in the coming months, subject to some final editing work we are currently undertaking. At its core, this panel seeks to tell the story of this important ambush and reprisal by placing the events of 29 December 1920 and 1 January 1921 in their physical context. We hope it will encourage those who encounter it to read and conceptualise their surroundings not just as a modern streetscape, but also as a well-preserved War of Independence conflict site. As well as providing a timeline and map of the engagement, the panel also highlights some key individual moments from the event in order to communicate the human drama and impact of the fight, and allow viewers to connect directly with the action. We hope this might be the first of many such interpretive panels that draws on archaeological analysis of similar War of Independence sites. We believe it can be one of the most effective and engaging ways of building an appreciation not just for the historic events, but for the surviving archaeological landscapes associated with them, which are among Ireland’s least understood, least protected, and most vulnerable. We are delighted to be in a position to finally share the panel with you, after much hard work on it! Stay tuned for more updates on it- including details of the innovative medium through which we hope it will eventually take physical form.

The Landscapes of Revolution Project and Abarta Heritage were able to undertake this work on the Midleton Ambush Interpretive Panel thanks to funding support provided by Cork County Council as part of the County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme, and the Midleton Town Development Fund. The other project partners are Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd, without whom the early phase of analysis of the ambush would not have been possible, and Midleton & Ballinacurra Area Heritage who have been highly supportive throughout. Special thanks are also due to Councillor Liam Quaide, Tony Harpur and Dr Michael Fletcher for their efforts and hard work associated with the project.

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