Category Archives: Ireland History

Newbridge, Co. Kildare – Great Connell Priory

At the site of what was originally one of the wealthiest and largest monasteries in Ireland, all that remains now is a couple of crumbling walls and a small overgrown graveyard. There isn’t even a sign at the road to indicate the location of the site despite its past importance in history.

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These priory ruins once contained the remains of Walter Wellesley who was Bishop of Kildare 1529-1539. His tomb was moved to St. Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare in the 1970’s where it can still be viewed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Wellesley

 

The graveyard is mostly 19th century and is quite small with just over 30 plots recorded. Although from my online research it appears to have been cleaned up previously c. 2008, nature is taking over again..though I have seen worse!

 

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Entrance gate to graveyard

 

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a railed in plot with two headstones
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View from inside the gate

Thankfully the Kildare Archaeological Society  did a survey of the site  in 2008 and you can find a site map and the inscriptions of all headstones on their website http://www.kildarearchsoc.ie/?page_id=392

Below are some more photos of headstones which were visible on the day I visited.


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Daingean, Co. Offaly – Kiladerry

 

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Situated on the outskirts of Daingean, Co. Offaly is Kiladerry Graveyard, mostly overgrown with monuments peeping through the long grass.

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The exceptions..

In one corner is the much adorned grave of Fr Mullen.  He is known for his curative powers and people come from all over to sleep under the tomb for a night seeking cures.

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In the far corner is a small simple  headstone in memory of the deceased  boys of nearby St Conleth’s Reformatory (Industrial school) – “a quietly forgotten blot on the social history of Ireland”

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Contradiction?

 

 

Greatconnell church, Newbridge, Co. Kildare ( 3 Grand Nationals! )

I stumbled upon this old church and graveyard on a recent drive across the Wicklow/Kildare countryside and stopped off to have a quick look around it.

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entrance gate

It’s in a fairly poor state, mostly overgrown and a large tree has fallen across one side of it. In the centre of the plot there’s an old church remains mostly being held up by the trees and bushes growing in and through it.

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Church remains with a grave within an iron railing, and a large yew tree growing in it.
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Inside the church ruins
     

As I wandered around I noticed that there is an unusual number of plots with a railing around them, usually I find that a small number of plots might have a high or low railing, but in this graveyard a large percentage had some type of metal surround. Unfortunately this hasn’t prevented the weeds, briars and bushes from taking them over.

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a tall cross headstone with a low metal railing
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Another plot with a railing around it
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tall & narrow railing surround with a gate at front
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trunk of fallen tree

From what I could see this site was used in from the 1800’s to 1900’s, but many of the inscriptions were illegible except for one towards the front of the site and a couple at the back.

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one of the later dated graves

When I visit graveyards I always take some photos of inscriptions and then later try to find out a little about some of the people mentioned. It’s not always a successful result!

Here I photographed the relatively simple headstone below dedicated to a Barbara Frances & Thomas Beasley.

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I found them fairly quickly in the 1901 Census of Ireland and also on the Irish Genealogy website. They were married in 1892 in St. Annes’s Dublin. As ‘Beasley’ is a well known name in racing circles and he was listed as living at Eyrefield Lodge, Curragh ( a well renowned thoroughbred racing and breeding stable), I began to search further by some general internet searching.

Being a racing fan I wasn’t disappointed with what I found. Thomas (Tommy) was one of the famous Beasley brothers of that time who were successful in many horse racing events across Ireland, England and France.  Thomas rode 3 Aintree Grand National winners in the late 1800’s namely; 1880 Empress, 1881 Woodbrook, 1889 Frigate and he famously beat the legendary Fred Archer in a race at the Curragh. Here’s a link to an article by Damien McElroy in 2007 detailing the exploits of Tommy and his brother Harry.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/beasley-brothers-leave-carberry-exploits-in-shade-26265506.html

This is the Marriage Cert records for Thomas and Barbara.

http://churchrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/display-pdf.jsp?pdfName=d-344-3-7-076

Photo of Thomas
Photo of Thomas

I was unable to find out any more about Tommy or Barbara during my research, it seems they both died reasonably young and had only been married since 1892,  she was 41 and died in 1903 and he was 59 when he died in 1905.

What a shame this graveyard has been neglected so much….this is a recurring theme I’m finding & particularly with non Catholic graveyards.

If anyone has any additional information they would like to share please leave a comment on this page or leave a post/tweet on the Facebook/Twitter sites.

Mary

🙂