Sarsfield Homecoming Project was presented by Dr Loïc Guyon at a special University of Limerick event on October 5
The Sarsfield Homecoming Project was presented at a special event hosted by University of Limerick on Thursday, October 5
At a special event hosted by the University of Limerick on Thursday, October 5, entitled “Finding Sarsfield: The Search for the Remains of the Earl of Lucan”, Dr Loïc Guyon, Honorary Consul of France, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of French Studies at MIC, Limerick, presented the Sarsfield Homecoming Project that he launched in 2020 with the aim of trying to locate and repatriate to Ireland the remains of Irish national hero Patrick Sarsfield.
His talk was followed by a panel discussion with project archaeologist Frank Coyne, project sponsor Hélène Dingreville (Carelon Global Solutions Ireland), Chief Executive of the Limerick City & County Council Dr Pat Daly and Huy City Council Heritage Director Stéphanie Ratz.
During the sold-out event, which was organised by UL Vice-President for Global & Community Engagement Professor Nigel Healey and MC’d by Dr David Fleming, Head of UL’s History Department, Hélène Dingreville announced the launch of a genetic mapping campaign of the Sarsfields of Ireland.
He said, “Carelon is proud to announce that it is teaming up with Dr Loïc Guyon, the Director of the Sarsfield Homecoming Project, and with Mr Gerard Corcoran, from the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, to launch a country-wide DNA testing campaign aimed at analysing DNA samples from a dozen of men currently residing in Ireland and whose surname is Sarsfield.
“The aim of that campaign is to find out whether there is a genetic connection between all of the Sarsfields of Ireland, including with Tim Sarsfield, whose DNA was already collected and analysed back in June 2021 as part of the project.
“As explained by Dr Guyon earlier, the reason why we will be focussing solely on men is that we want to see whether their Y-chromosomes match. We will also be testing their autosomal DNA. Men currently residing in Ireland and whose surname is Sarsfield should send an e-mail to Dr Loïc Guyon indicating their full name, postal address, date of birth, their oldest known ancestor and the area where their oldest known ancestor originated”.
Frank Coyne, Aegis Archaeology Ltd, took the audience through the results of the recent site survey which was conducted in Huy by French company ECR Environnement.
The survey enabled the team to determine that the area where the two anonymous French officers were buried, one of whom most likely Patrick Sarsfield, is indeed located below the back garden of no 21 Avenue des Fossés as was foreseen by Dr Guyon.
This means that in order to conduct an archaeological excavation, the team will need first to remove tons of soil since the garden’s surface stands 2.9m above what used to be the floor of Saint Martin’s Church. Dr Guyon and Mr Coyne hope to be able to benefit from the assistance of the Huy City Council in that process.
Dr Guyon said that he hoped to be able to raise the extra funding needed for that operation thanks to a trip that he will be making to the US from 11 to 15 October at the invitation of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Youngstown State University.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians is the oldest and the largest Irish Catholic organisation in the US and Dr Guyon will be presenting the Sarsfield Homecoming Project during their annual gathering in Ohio.
In the meantime, it was announced that a first dig will be carried out inside the cellar of the townhouse during the first week of December in order to unearth the floor of the ancient church, visually confirm the ground radar results and determine the exact nature of the ground in which the soldiers were buried in 1693.