Research and Community projects

The Sacred Heart Campus in Dingle, Ltd. (SHCiD), County Kerry, Ireland, supported by Sacred Heart University of Fairfield, Connecticut, USA, has a mission to offer education to third-level students, and to partner with An Díseart Centre of Irish Spirituality and Culture :: Ionad Spioradáltachta agus Cultúir Ghaelaigh, and with the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium/ Mara Beo, as well as with the town and peninsula of Dingle as a member of the community. SHCiD has also been in partnership with several Irish universities, including MTU, UCC, TCD, UG, and Queen’s.

To this end, SHCiD has created several research projects that look at the natural and built environment of the Dingle peninsula. For several years it has monitored weather and sampled soils to determine patterns of climate change and sustainability. It has also co-sponsored various conferences and workshops that offer educational opportunities for all involved. See the list of conferences and workshops on the site.

SHCiD has established a new multi-year project, in collaboration with An Díseart, that seeks to record the geographical, environmental, historical and cultural setting of the Dingle peninsula. The idea for this project arose after he discovery in April 2021 of a Bronze Age burial tomb, which led to the realization that there is still much to discover and record.

The Dingle peninsula can be considered an outdoor museum, with its Bronze Age tombs, medieval chapels, oratories and monasteries, and old stone cottages, as well as spectacular mountains, hills, ocean coves and cliffs. Yet in an ever-changing environment, preservation and sustainability are key to its future, and this can only come from a deeper knowledge of all that it contains.

The new project, Deep Mapping Dingle Peninsula, uses the terms ‘deep mapping’; one of the newest approaches in the environmental humanities that seeks to understand the totality of human cultural heritage as rooted in a place. Some common elements of deep mapping are:

  1. A multi-disciplinary approach, especially humanities and science; it is a type of “vertical travel writing” interweaving “autobiography, archaeology, stories, memories, folklore, traces, reportage, weather, interviews, natural history, science, and intuition” (Alison Calder ) Add to this music, architecture, food, clothing, folk medicine, religious rituals, fishing, and farming. This recognizes that spaces are experienced differently by a multitude of people both at one time and over many years.
  2. The meaning and lore of place (Dindsenchas) is central. Deep mapping explores the connection between the vast number of people who have inhabited a geographical place and have “spatially framed identities and aspirations out of imagination and memory” (Bodenhamer, Corrigan, Harris ). This is captured in Seamus Heaney’s poem ‘In Gallarus Oratory’, “You can still feel the community pack … Founded there like heroes in a barrow/ They sought themselves in the eye of their King/ Under the black weight of their own breathing. And how he smiled on them as out they came, The sea a censer, and the grass a flame.”
  3. It also involves mapping that is both vertical in time and horizontal (overlapping, conflicting, multiple meanings and stories), in a way that allows many voices (spatial narratives) to be heard. Part of the science will be using GIS (geographic information system) mapping. “Within a deep map, we can develop the event streams that permit us to see the confluence of actions and evidence; we can use path markers or version trackers to allow us (and others) to trace our explorations; and we can contribute new information that strengthens or subverts our argument, which is the goal of any exploration” (Bodenhamer, Corrigan, Harris).
  4. The final goal is a multimedia and multilayered presentation in print, web design, video, music, dance, and visual art, to be a resource and guide for students, scholars, and the general public.

Executive Planning Committee: John Roney (chair), Billy MagFhloinn, Daithí de Mórdha, John Rapaglia, Joan Maguire, Isabel Bennett, Mark Beekey, Gary Delaney

  1. Alison Calder. “The wilderness plot, the deep map, and Sharon Butala’s changing prairie.” Essays on Canadian Writing, 77 (Sept. 3):164-185.
  2. David J. Bodenhamer, John Corrigan, Trevor M. Harris, Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives (Indiana UP, 2015).