Black Friary Community Heritage and Archaeology Project
The Blackfriary Community Heritage and Archaeology Project (BCHAP) was established in 2010 as a joint initiative of several partners, including the Irish Archaeology Field School (IAFS), Cultural Tourism Ireland, Trim Municipal District, Meath Country Council, statutory organisations, a range of academic partners and, crucially, the local community. BCHAP can be summarised as having had three main objectives – (A) to provide heritage community outreach and education events, helping to further enthuse the Trim community on their medieval heritage; (B) to help rehabilitate the Black Friary site into a valuable amenity/green space for the local community of Trim and (C) for the Black Friary project to gradually migrate to a self-sustaining community driven enterprise. Each these objectives was in keeping with the founding principle of BCHAP – ‘to help protect the heritage of the Black Friary site’ by making it into a cherished place within the community.
The work of BCHAP has proved hugely successful, gaining widespread national and international recognition. While BCHAP’s success has been reported extensively previously highlights include: the rehabilitation of the site from a derelict wasteland; installation of a community garden and orchard; annual delivery of a community calendar, which peaked in 2016 at 33 events; significant positive economic gains for the town based on increased visitor numbers; the creation, and dissemination, of new knowledge through archaeological excavation.
Perhaps the greatest success of the project was its ability to capture the interest and support of the community of Trim. As a result of the project is becoming a more community focused and driven entity, allowing the Irish Archaeology Field School to move to support new community projects!