I’m back in Dublin for a few days. With the blessing of the graves just around the corner, I went with my Dad to water the flowers on our family plot. The graveyard has always intrigued me.
According to local folklore, an underground tunnel connects Dunsoghly Castle (which I’ve previously mentioned here) with the former church that lies in ruins in the graveyard.
Folklore aside, the charm of this old graveyard appeals to me. A broken pathway, crossing over a local farm, reminds visitors that they are in the countryside. Partial ruins are visible. It is the first indication that the graveyard which lies ahead is of an older generation:
At first glance, the graveyard seems to blur into the rolling fields that surround it:
There is no obvious planning to the layout: no perfectly neat rows of headstones, edging that marks out every grave or neatly-cut grass. Headstones rest at odd angles, and graves are also nestled in the ruins of an old church. But this higgledy-piggedly appearance gives the graveyard a sense of character not found in the newer, more uniform cemeteries.
Marble headstones dot the landscape, but they are the exception. It is the multitude of granite headstones that reveal the age of the graveyard (which is now full, apart from those family plots which still have some space). In contrast to the newer marble markers, the engravings on the granite headstones are mostly illegible, worn away with the passage of time. That granite is a hard rock, which is eroded by the weather slowly, the condition of these headstones further points to the maturity of the graveyard.
As the number of living descendants dwindles and weather-induced erosion continues, it will be a shame to see these monuments to the dead, testaments of former lives, disappear into the landscape.