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GRAVEYARDS. and TOMBSTONES. Definitions. Burial site – anywhere burials take place . Burial ground – a specific area set aside for interments; not all burial grounds are associated with church buildings or religious foundations ( Jewish, Killeens etc., Civic )

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Burial site – anywhere burials take place.

Burial ground – a specific area set aside for interments; not all burial grounds are associated with church buildings or religious foundations (Jewish, Killeens etc., Civic)

Graveyard – a yard or area of land in which graves have been established but can be synonymous with a burial ground.

(a famine graveyard).

Churchyard – a burial area adjacent to a church, abbey etc.

Cemetery – specifically established for the purposes of burial usually by local councils and civic authorities.

A collapsed altar tomb
A Collapsed Altar Tomb

John Ryan of Danganmore: collapsed Altar tomb

Vernacular style
Vernacular Style

Headstones from Ardmayle County, Tipperary


Wavy decorated tops

Identical IHS decoration with carpenter’s tools

Reversed N as И andspelling of MONUMENT – carved by the same mason.

Similar vernacular style
Similar Vernacular Style

Another vernacular headstone at Derrynahinch, Kilkenny

(note the spelling of Carloe)

Word clipping
Word Clipping

Newtown Jerpoint

– Example of

word clipping

Headstone lettering
Headstone Lettering


Letters used tighter

to save space

John mulcael s stone
John Mulcael’s Stone

John Mulcael at Danganmore – 1758 (note skull)

Original view of john mulcael s stone
Original view of John Mulcael's stone

Inscription of john mulcael s stone
Inscription of John Mulcael's stone

Danganmore Graveyard, County Kilkenny

Primitive decoration of two forward facing skulls on each side of stone, with pedimented cross.

Inscription reads:

God be merciful to the Soul of John Mulcaelwho departed May 26th 1758 aged 60 yrs.

Immediately adjacent (although now in a tree) to a stone dedicated to the Delaney and Mulcahy family. Tree roots have turned up ancient holy medal which we re-buried.

Aylward stone derrynahinch
Aylward Stone Derrynahinch

Aylwardstone Derrynahinch

with crude skulls

and word wrapping

Crucifixion scene
Crucifixion Scene

Beautifully carved but with cruder carved inscription

– from Glendalough, County Wicklow.

(George Thomson: Lettering on Gravemarkers in England and Ireland)

Cullen crucifixion scene
Cullen Crucifixion Scene



GoreyChurchyard Heritage Group

Pre cromwellian crucifixion scene
Pre Cromwellian Crucifixion scene

Ballybur, County Kilkenny

Knocktopher crucifixion scenes
KnocktopherCrucifixion scenes

Edmund Aylward1846, Knocktopher Front & Back

Countess of brandon
Countess of Brandon

Ellis, Countess of Brandon born Ellis Agar

(1709 - 1789)

The memorial, designed by Edward Smyth and located in Gowran Church, Dublin

Humphrey o sullivan
Humphrey O'Sullivan

Irish Language headstone 1838. Hedge School Master and Irish scholar at Callan, County Kilkenny

Standing status and achievements
Standing, Status and Achievements

Example of Standing, Status and Achievements

– the Moran Family, Gowran

Opposite this stone and within close by the walls lies interred the body of Mrs Mary Moran alias Holiday of the City of York and lately of Gowran, who departed this life the 8th day of June 1755 aged 55 years. This stone was erected out of pious memory to the deceased this first day of February 1765. Maurice Moran Esq., Atty (Attorney) at Law died June 5th 1811. Edward Moran. Rev officer (Revenue Officer) died 1810 or 1819.

St Mary’s Gowran, County Kilkenny.

Standing status and achievements1
Standing, Status and Achievements

Example of Standing, Status and Achievements – Mr Patrick Cuthbert, Gowran

Sacred to the memory of Mr Patrick Cuthbert for many years Post Master of Gowran, he fulfilled the duty of his profession and employment during his life time with Honour, Honesty and Integrity. He died in the Honourable cause of His King and Country in the 48thyear of his age June 25th 1798. Reader remark a fond father, a sincere friend and possessed of a benevolent heart to the distressed.

Masonic symbols on stone. St Mary’s Gowran, county Kilkenny.

Status of a named woman
Status Of A Named Woman

Example of a woman whose status is via her husband and brother

Erected to the memory of Mrs Mary Cronin alias White, wife to Mr EdmdCronyn of the City of Kilkenny, Merchant, and only sister to John White Esq., of Whitestown in the county of Waterford. She departed this life (April 1809 aged 61).

Altar tomb.

St Kieran’s Church of Ireland Graveyard, Kells, Kilkenny

Status of an almost unnamed woman
Status Of An Almost Unnamed Woman

Example of an almost unnamed woman and 4 unnamed children

The most important person is the husband who is the only one fully named and given a date of death

Here rests the remains of his wife Judith and four of their children predeceased, the body of Thomas Prim of Annamult in the County of Kilkenny, Gentlemen. He died 5th July 1775 aged 60.

Altar tomb.

St Kieran’s Church of Ireland Graveyard, Kells, Kilkenny

Status of a woman of virtues
Status Of A Woman Of Virtues

Example of womanly virtues

To the memory of Marianne Baillie, only child of G.C. Bucahan, proprietor of the English Academy. In a short but estimable life she has all those virtues and qualities of head and heart which shed lustre on the several relations of Daughter, Wife, Mother and friends. In a long and painful Distemper she displayed an all embracing edifying fortitude, patience and resignation with true piety and Christian hope which alone can inspire. She died May 9th 1819 in her 19th year. This monument is erected by a father whose affliction is as deep as could be.

NOTE : Husband is not even mentioned. Why?

St Mary’s Church (Church of Ireland), Kilkenny

The forgotten irish soldiers of the raj
The Forgotten Irish – Soldiers of the Raj