Decency has come up on this website before when discussing past and present burial practices. It seems an archaic term; reminds me of the way our teacher's used to talk in school in the 70s and 80s, and come to think of it, the word 'decent' pronounced 'daycent' was regularly used by Cork teenagers in those days, meaning good or great. 'We're playing Carrigaline in the semi-final!' 'Daycent, we beat them last time!'. But when used in the context of burial it refers to respectful treatment of the dead.
Meath is the middle province of Early Medieval Ireland, and Meath headstones are made of some of best limestone and some of the best carved stones in the country.
Meath County Council kindly funded our survey of Castlekeeran graveyard with the Castlekeeran Graveyard Committee and we held a public training day in the graveyard during Heritage Week 2018.
Waterford is a funny county. For some visitors it is the bit between the ferry and West Cork, or Kerry. For others it is on the way to the Cliff Hotel in Ardmore, West Waterford. For many it is a hidden gem.
But that's the old story. The ‘scéal nua’ is the Waterford Greenway which in 2-3 years has transformed tourism in the county. The Greenway is a 46km off-road walking and cycling trail along the old Waterford to Dungarvan railway line.
Historic graveyards are compasses in the landscape.
If you're ever lost in the Irish countryside, a graveyard can help you get your bearings.
Catholics and Protestants are often buried together in Ireland.
Or rather, buried in the same place. The same burial ground.
We sometimes use different roads to get to the graveyard.
We sometimes use difference entrances into the same graveyard.
It's even been said some burial grounds have walls under the ground to stop our bones from mixing. We're a funny old crowd.
Graveyards are made and maintained by the living, as sacred places to the memory of the beloved dead.
And the social history of a parish is wrapped up in it's graveyards.
By studying graveyards we can tell who the big landowners were; who had a middling farm and who had none. We can identify the trades families engaged in. And one of the most commonly encountered trades is that of blacksmith. For graveyards, blacksmith's made iron crosses, grave surrounds, and put together grave railings. But mainly blacksmiths made the iron gates that close-off the sacred space.
Cork is a corrugated county, east-west valleys and ridges are key features of the landscape.
Cork people are always at the bottom of a hill or going up a hill. It has been said that our accents are forged by that fact - the Cork accent has a sing-song rythym, I'm going up and now I'm going down.
On the old Carlow town to Baltinglass road is a small, overgrown graveyard. It bears the name Knockaunarelic - the small hill of the graveyard - and it is located in the townland of Pollerton Little. I thought Pollerton was going to be a local landlord's name but it is in fact related to the limestone solid geology beneath - sinkholes giving the name 'townland of the holey ground - Baile Pholaird Beag'.
Old KIlcummin is three graveyards in one. A core medieval churchyard has morphed into a modern cemetery (kerbs and imported polished marble), and a nineteenth century graveyard (with high, and ground, vaulted tombs) and it is more than twice the width of the average graveyard. Three in one.