LOHAN, Máire: An ‘Antiquarian Craze’

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LOHAN, Máire. An ‘Antiquarian Craze’. The life, times and work in archaeology of Patrick Lyons R.I.C. (1861-1954). Dublin: By Éamonn De Búrca for Edmund Burke Publisher, 2008. pp. xiv, 192. Illustrated. Fine in coloured illustrated stiff wraps.

Born in 1861, Sgt. Patrick Lyons, ‘The Antiquarian Policeman’, served with the Royal Irish Constabulary from 1886 - 1920. While stationed in the West of Ireland, he developed a keen interest in documenting the field-monuments he noticed on his patrols. His discovery of four ogham stones led to a correspondence with Hubert Knox, a renowned Mayo Antiquarian; Lyons provided Knox with important descriptions of field monuments, contributing to 19 published papers. Out of modesty, and fear that the R.I.C. would frown on his ‘antiquarian craze’, he preferred not to be acknowledged by name, although he was much admired for his fine mind and dedicated antiquarian ‘policework’ by those few with whom he shared his interest.

To bring to light his remarkable work, this book draws on Lyons’ own notes and photographs (preserved by N.U.I. Galway and the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland), archived local newspapers and an overview of the social and political history of his times.

A quiet, unassuming man, Lyons died in 1954 and lies buried in an unmarked grave in his native Clonmel. His major contribution to Irish archaeology deserves to be acknowledged in print at last.

Máire Lohan (née Carroll) was born in Belmullet, County Mayo and now lives in Galway city. While researching for an M.A. in Archaeology at U.C.G. she became aware of the Lyons Photographic Collection there and also of the Knox/Lyons Collection at the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, around which this book is based. She has worked with the O.P.W. in the Archaeological Survey of County Galway, lectured in archaeology at R.T.C. Galway and excavated in Galway city. She has published articles in the Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society and Cathair na Mart. This is her first book.

Published by De Burca Rare Books.

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