Tag Archives: Waterford

‘Attack of the briars’ – Hackettstown – Old Parish – South Waterford

On a sunny January day I decided to go for a drive around the south Waterford area and I came across this old graveyard on my travels. Located in the gaeltacht area south of Dungarvan, it’s not easy to find but there are a couple of high crosses visible from the road. image (1) As I entered through the broken iron entrance gate it didn’t bode well that I was immediately attacked by the briars, they were like tentacles reaching out and grabbing onto me, everywhere I turned I was stuck in one, it was time to tuck the jeans into the wellies! IMG_1531 Unsure of which way to walk, I followed what seemed to be a used pathway through the grass & briars and this led to a celtic cross headstone, dedicated to Denis Joseph O’Connor, born in Kerry in 1922 , died in 1990. Most likely this was the last person to have been buried in this graveyard, I certainly couldn’t see any with a later date. IMG_1544 Throughout the rest of the graveyard, the headstones were almost completely taken over by the bushes and briars and long grass. In the centre of the site the remains of an old church can be made out from a couple of remaining collapsed walls. IMG_1541 IMG_1542 IMG_1546

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Despite the poor condition of most of this graveyard, there is one plot which contained a a couple of celtic crosses and flat stones, these were mostly legible and were saved from the overgrowth due to a metal surround and being cemented in. The one of most interest is the headstone dedicated to Rev Walter Curran. I thought it would be easy to get some information about the Reverend online given that he was clergy but I couldn’t find any birth or death records for him. It just goes to show how bad the genealogy records are in Ireland. However I did come across him listed under Dunmore, in the 1856 SlatersDirectory under ‘Nobility, Gentry and Clergy’ where he is listed as being from Whitstown which I think is near Portlaw but I could be wrong.

http://www.corkpastandpresent.ie/places/streetandtradedirectories/1856slatersdirectorycorkcityandcounty/1856corkcounty/DunmanwayFermoy.pdf

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Having searched for ages trying to find out some more information about the Reverend, I almost gave up until I found a really interesting blog from Martin Coffey, and he has an interesting story about the Reverend and when he was being buried. You can read about it and other stories of the locality here http://oldparish.blogspot.ie/2008/02/fork-lore-has-it-that-hackettstown.html

I came across a few photos of the graveyard from around 2008 where it didn’t seem to be as overgrown as it is now, it’s such a pity it has deteriorated so much in such a short time…though it’s probably a sign of the times…a shortage of funds and a shortage of interest from the younger generations.

Until the next visit somewhere in Ireland, take care 🙂

Mary

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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.