Timahoe, Co. Laois (Queen’s County)

24.10.2014

Wandering through Co. Laois on the way to Waterford, I came across the small village of Timahoe in Co. Laois.  It struck me as an old-fashioned rural village,  there certainly was no mad property boom here. This is a good thing in my view as many of our villages now have half-finished modern eyesores blotting the landscape. I wasn’t going to stop until out of the corner of my eye I spotted a round tower and I decided to check it out. The tower is intact and dates from the 12th century…that’s 800 years ago, though the cap was repaired in the 19th century. Those monks were pretty good at building, I wonder if our 21st century buildings will last as long!

The crows had a lovely high place for roosting. Check out http://roundtowers.org/timahoe/index.htm for more of its history.

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As I strolled around the grounds, I came across an old Church of Ireland church which is now used as a heritage centre, and an old  graveyard with an older church ruins from the 15th century. It’s a lovely rural and quiet setting for a graveyard.

The graveyard itself looks unused though there is one recent stone marking some ashes being laid there.  I saw one headstone which was unusual in that it seemed to have quite an ornate design, originally with carvings like flowers wrapped around the upper part, and other carvings in the stone which make it look like a tree trunk, but maybe this was just the ageing process taking over.  I couldn’t make out the inscription though I’ve since found out the family name is Hinds.

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The other plot which was noticeable was a large one with 3 headstones for various members of the Edge family. What was interesting is that across two branches of the family, some of them died abroad in the 1890’s, in Switzerland, India, Perth and South Africa. There was obviously a history of emigration in the family  but it seems they all died very young , between the ages of 21 and 28. Their siblings who stayed behind also died young, disease was widespread across Ireland at this time particularly TB (consumption).

In one branch of the family, the mother Kate, outlived her husband and 8 of her children.  Her husband George was listed as a farmer in 1881 , after he died in 1890  it seems like Kate left the farm in Laois and moved to the city suburbs where she lived until 1936.

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The good thing about this graveyard is that it’s in the grounds of a historic round tower thereby ensuring it is well maintained for years to come. Sadly not all old burial sites are so fortunate and more needs to be done to preserve them.

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