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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Carlow Old Graves

County Carlow

(My grateful thanks  to Michael Purcell & Carloman for providing this  material)

"The Graves"

by Liam Kelly

Source: At killiney's - Grave Lane entrance to Old Graves

Abbreviation of Tombstone transcripts from "The Graves" Barrow Track, granted during the reign of James 1. 1603-1625 for the burial of Catholics of the town of Carlow.

Map of Carlow Old Graves next to the Barrow c.1800'sMany are buried here who have no stone erected to their memory. C.C.H.S. are attempting to compile a burial list using information extracted from Carlow Cathedral and Graiguecullen Parish registers and civil records. The Michael Brophy papers contain transcriptions compiled in 1898, a quick check reveals that at least 30 stones standing at that time, are not to be seen today. Some may be covered over (during a clean up operation carried out by the Carlow County Heritage Society in 1987, eight stones were uncovered). others may have been moved by families, erecting later stones to record more recent burials. For example two men buried here without any trace of their burial place are named by Farrell in "Carlow '98". He tells us of Lieutenant John Berne of Coal Market / Castle Hill and Captain Pat Kelly, United Irishmen who were executed in 1798.

John Berne was shot, "one of the best men that could be named, he was kind and gentle and bold as a lion if required, a chandler by trade.  About fifty years of age, married with one child. When he received the first shots he jumped upright, and was ordered to kneel, on the second discharge he jumped up again but the third discharge finished him.

When the blood was washed off he had a bullet hole through one of his hands, several through his body and one through his head,  "Pat Kelly was hanged, his head was cut off and put on a spike. His last prayer from the dungeon was "That Almighty God may give me the hardest death ever any man got for my sins". Farrell states that each man could have saved himself at the expense of Mr McDonnell, but both preferred honourable graves. Farrell then prays, "that their memory live with honour in the country they died for".

Carlow County Heritage Society hopes to erect a plaque to their memory at the entrance to the graves. Adjoining the graves is the Cholera plot. Michael Brophy Papers tells us that this once extended to the corner of Montgomery Street and that innumerable Carlow men, women and children were dumped here during the Cholera epidemic of 1849

This article is taken from 'Carlow Past and Present' and is reproduced by kind permission of Michael Purcell. Sent to me by  'Carloman'

During 1984, a Youth Employment Agency scheme supervised by the Old Carlow Society recorded the legible inscriptions on tombstones in 20 graveyards in the Carlow area (see separate list for locations).

A number of unusual and interesting inscriptions were uncovered, and the following are a selection.

In Castle Hill at the rear of Nolan’s stonecutters on a mound of earth raised about 8 feet above the level of the street and completely disconnected with the present burial ground of St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, can be found the remains of an altar tomb. The following is the inscription:

[The burying place of the family of Galbraith of Old Derrig, Queens County]

“Beneath this stone are deposited the bodies of Samuel Galbraith Esq. who [died] in the year 1793 aged 73 years [also] Benjamin Baker, Galbraith Esq. son [of the] above Samuel who died on the 24th [of] September, 1821, aged 48 years. [ ?.] Galbraith son of the above B.B.G. [died] Deci 27th, 1821, aged 8 months.”

The left side of this slab is broken off, hence the words in brackets are missing.

An interesting Latin inscription (not now legible), which deserves to be included was on a stone in St. Mary’s Church of Ireland graveyard, Carlow.

Fortunately, Robert Malcomson of Carlow translated and recorded it in 1891. The stone is over the grave of Rev. Benjamin Daillon, who died in 1709, and reads as follows:

“From France expelled, a martyr to the Faith,
De Daillon rests this humble stone beneath.
Nor birth, nor learning, nor could merit save
The staunch old Huguenot an exile’s grave.
For conscience sake imprisonment he bore,
With torturing oft, and tempting o’er and o’er.
Till stripped of all, save honour in the toil,
He found his freedom in more generous soil.
And here retired at life’s eventful close,
Soothed by Pauline - the partner of his woes.
The loved, fond sharer of his hopes and bliss -
Death parts them not - this tomb is hers and his!
Shades of the good, the pius, and the just,
Accept this tribute to his cherished dust,
If votive tablets may bespeak renown
Or saintly relics consecrate a tomb!
Why should the grave obliterate all trace
Of Honour, Valour, Sanctity and Grace?
Through the frail tokens we would raise decay,
His spirit glows in Everlasting Day.”

The oldest inscriptions to be found in Carlow area is in the “Old Graves” on the Barrow Track and reads:

Alias Sherloc, his wife with five of their children, he died the 16th March, 1718, shee (sic) died the 6th of September, 1691.

Another inscription to be found in the “Old Graves”:

Sacred to the memory of McHugh Murphy of Kellis town but late of Carlow Town honest and sincere who departed this life 4th January, 1820, aged... . Also the remains of his friend the Rev. James Murphy of the order of St. Francis belonging to the friary of Painstown near Carlow who died AD 1801.

This, no doubt, proves that there was a Franciscan friary in Painstown. Was the Rev. James Murphy the last Franciscan in Carlow?

In Oak Park estate near the farmyard are the remains of an old burial ground (since 1984 when we recorded the inscriptions, the graveyard has had a major clean-up and restoration). The following inscriptions refer to some of the workmen whose families probably worked all their lives on the estate:

Erected by Patrick Smith (sic) in memory of his son John Smyth (sic) Bricklayr of Painstn New Building he died the 17th March 1781 aged 29.

Here lyes the body of Lawerence Bergin who lied 40 years in this family during which time he behaved as an honest faithful servent deceased Dec 26 AD 1742 aged 74 years.

Hear (sic.) the body of Mary Deegan who departed this life April this life April (sic.) the 22t aged 39 years 1738 and also the body of Joen Mooran who departed this life June y 12th 1739 aged 16 years.

Did Mary Deegan die twice in April 1738?

An inscription recorded in Kellistown graveyard as follows:

Here lieth the body of Owen Cummins who departed this life the 11th of May 1795 aged 108 years. Also the body of Elizabeth Kinsella his daughter who depd this life the 9th day of January, 1796, aged 20 years.

Example from Staplestown graveyard:

Here lieth the mortal remains of Abraham Foorde Royse Esqr second son of Nicholas Foorde Royse Esqr of Vantenan, Co. Limerick, formerly Lieutenant 87th Reg. and for many years the Inspector of Constabulary for Co. Carlow died 10th September, 1852, aged 58 years. This smal tribute of affection is erected to his memory by his afflicted widow Mrs. Jannette Royse. Also to the memory of their only child Henry Abraham Royse died 16th August, 1846, aged 22 months.

List of gravestones surveyed
  Burial grounds Grave- stones Memorials
1 Old graves Barrow Track 400  
2 St. Mary's Church of Ireland 84 31
3 Killeshin Church of Ireland 295 12
4 Killeshin RC Old 92  
5 Killeshin RC New Holy Cross 285  
6 Painstown (Oak Park) 24  
7 Scots Church Athy Rd. 30  
8 Sleaty 96  
9 Bennekerry Old 45  
10 Rutland 93 22
11 Quinagh 25  
12 Tinryland 340 4
13 Staplestown 125 19
14 Busherstown 17  
15 Killerig 10  
16 Old Derrig 3  
17 Ballinacarrig 19  
18 Linkardstown 69  
19 Kihistown 143  
20 Pollerton 12  
  Totals 2207 88
[ INSCRIPTIONS ]   [ Carlow Old Graves ]
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© 2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP