West Waterford – Kilrossanty and Knockboy

November 2014

Driving around the scenic Comeragh Mountains in Co. Waterford on a sunny November day, I came across a couple of historic graveyards and if you didn’t know where they were, weren’t following an ordnance survey map, or weren’t a local you probably wouldn’t have found them. The first one I called into was in the townland of Kilrossanty on the southern side of the Comeragh Drive not far from Lemybrien.  You can enter via the gate or stone stile. I choose the stile. One common feature of all the sites I’ve visited is that they all have a stone stile beside the entrance, all of different design and as good as the day they were built.

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Now it seems that this site is well known for it’s Holy Wells so I wasn’t sure what I was going to find walking down the path.

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So I was pleasantly surprised to find a well cared for church ruins and graveyard. It’s obvious that community spirit is alive and well here and that they put some effort into preserving their history. The old church ruins contained many headstones and as with similar ruins I’ve seen, the interior of the church contains headstones – it seems to have been a trait that once a church was no longer in use, that the interior could be as grave plots. I suspect that these were probably for the more well-off in the community.

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It appears that many of the graves within the church interior have been recorded by someone as the inscriptions have been cleaned up and are clearly legible.

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The community have also  erected a memorial to all the famine victims who are buried here.

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At one end of the church I came across an opening in the ground, I wasn’s sure if it was an underground level of the church or an old grave…being the wuss that I am I didn’t dwell  on it too much, just took this photo and continued on!

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The outer part of the graveyard had the usual mix of headstones and monuments from different era’s. There was  one of a tall narrow design which I haven’t seen  previously.

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As I continued clockwise on the Comeragh Drive I came across Knockboy graveyard. It’s signposted off the main Dungarvan – Clonmel road and you need to drive down a narrow lane to get to it. This graveyard is a known place of significant history in the Diocese of Lismore and Waterford, and it appears that there’ s an annual ceremony held here in September. There’s a good history of the area and details about the graveyard described on the board outside the gate.

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In the grounds there’s an old church ruins and within it are lots of headstones. It seemed to have been quite a large church in it’s day.

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There’s a high density of headstones in what’s a relatively small site and again there’s a variety of designs. Again the lichen has taken over and many are illegible.

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On the  far opposite corner of the graveyard is a square plot with 4 corner posts and chains surrounding it. It seems like a communal plot – if anyone knows the significance please drop me a note.

 

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This graveyard also contains an Ogham stone, and you can read more about the historic significance of these via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogham_inscription

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If you want to find out more about old graveyards in your area, check with the heritage officer in your local county council.  Additionally many county councils have an online list of graveyards old and new with a short description of each.

M.

 

 

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