Sligo residents aim to restore overgrown ancient Kilmorgan cemetery
A small group of local residents have come together to try to restore an ancient cemetery.
Kilmorgan Old Cemetery, nestled in the small roads between Riverstown, Ballymote and Castlebaldwin, has fallen into disrepair and a ‘GoFundMe’ page has been set up to help make the graveyard safe for visitors.
Residents living close to the cemetery; Annette Caffrey, Tommy Dyer, Enda O’Connell and Maura and Gearoid O’Connor, came together with the aim of raising €6,000 to carry out essential works.
The ‘GoFundMe’ page was set in February with €3,500 raised so far.
Enda said:“We are very grateful to all those who have already donated.
“We now need to raise awareness in the locality, and get more people to kindly donate. Each donation is gratefully received.”
Kilmorgan is an ancient monastic site and home to the ruins of an old 17th century church.
There are also a number of burials of historic interest, including Francis and Anne Davy the parents of Kilmorgans’s famous cleric Owen Davy.
He became Rev. Dean Owen Davy in 1884, following his emigration in 1875 which had been encouraged by visiting Australian Bishop Martin Crane.
He went on to dedicate his life as a priest and educator, leaving a lasting legacy in the diocese of Sandhurst in Victoria, Australia.
Additionally, an ancient battle may have taken place beside the ruins of the old church, as inferred in the 1837 publication Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, due to the mounds found containing bones and ashes in urns.
“The group wishes to acknowledge grant funding from Sligo County Council through the Community and Voluntary Grant Scheme in 2022,” said Annette.
“We are very grateful for this. In particular, we want to thank Jude Mannion for his kind assistance. This funding avenue is invaluable to us,” she added
The cemetery is home to 73 plots, with many family members buried in each plot. It is the resting place for those of both Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic faith.
The last person buried there was Bridget Reynolds, nee Osborne, in February 1982.
The last person to arrive at the cemetery by horse drawn hearse was Michael Taheny of Coolboy House in May 1943.
“We want to do our best to make it safe to visit,” said Gearoid. “Vinnie Davay and his wife Mary visit the graveyard annually to carry out weeding and other light work, but further work needs to be carried out due to the damaged walls and tombstones.”
A Millennium Mass took place at the Cemetery in 2000, with Fr. Gabriel Murphy and Fr. O’Shea.
Niamh O’Connor said: “It was a beautiful summer’s day. I remember walking to the graveyard, helping to push my baby sister Eilis in the pram.
“She was two and I was eight years old.
“I’m very glad my family are helping to restore this lovely old graveyard.”
Tommy added:“If lots of people give a little it will go a long way. We want to thank everyone who has donated and want to encourage more to do so.”
Those interested in donating can do so at GoFundMe.com/f/kilmorgan-graveyard-restoration.
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