Miscellanea

Defining a mass grave

Do a google search for "mass grave Ireland" and Tuam comes up, top of the list.

The phrase mass grave is used descriptively and emotionally. There's a chamber with multiple bodies in it. There are serious questions about the numbers of bodies and the decency with which the children & babies were treated in life and death. Our society prizes decent treatment of our dead, regardless of status - at least we say we do.

But.

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A decent burial - common V mass graves

Public discussion of burial practices can become very emotional. 

Mass and grave are the two most emotive words used in recent times. Both in public & academic discourse.

 

When I first started studying these things I thought mass grave would be easy to understand. But. Not so!

Over the next few months i'm going to explore the use of mass grave in an attempt to better understand our funerary practices through time.

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The healing grave of Fr. John O'Mullane; Old Kilcorney graveyard, Duhallow, Cork

This post starts and finishes with two different stories by two different women.

One woman was having trouble getting pregnant - she already had a few children - it just wasn't taking this time, until she went to her doctor for a chat. Talking to the doctor, who was a caring, kind, experienced woman, she came away more relaxed about the process. A month later it took.

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Healing Stones - Rev. Florence McCarthy d 1805

If you've ever flown into or out of Cork airport you may have flown over Killingley graveyard. This is one of those Cork graveyards situated on the side of a slope. It is rural but with strong links to the city and pride of place within the graveyard falls to the headstone for the Rev. Florence McCarthy (d 1805).

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How much did a funeral cost in the 1880s? Thompsons of Waterford.

A question often asked during graveyard surveys is ‘how much did a funeral cost in the past?’ - to which I’d often reply that we need to see a undertaker’s account books to get an answer. The first undertaker’s accounts I have seen were shown to me by C J Destelle-Roe of North Tipperary and that account book contained a lot of important clues to understanding early 20th century Templemore.

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