Photo: Garden of Rememberance opening July 07

Discovery of the Site

Ballyhanna is a small townland located on the southern bank of the River Erne, approximately 1 mile to the east of the town of Ballyshannon, in County Donegal. In 2003 a previously unrecorded burial ground was discovered at Ballyhanna during archaeological testing, prior to the construction to the N15 Bundoran-Ballyshannon bypass. The cemetery site was excavated in the winter of 2003/ spring 2004 by Irish Archaeological Consultancy Ltd (IAC Ltd) on behalf of Donegal County Council and the National Roads Authority (NRA) (licence no: 03E1384). In total, human skeletal remains of some 1301 individuals - men, women, children and infants - were uncovered at Ballyhanna alongside the foundations of a Medieval small stone church. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the burial ground was in use in the Early Medieval period, with the earliest burial dating to the eighth century, however, the vast majority of burials were Medieval in date.