Anybody who has driven the N25 from Rosslare to Cork or Kerry will have passed this graveyard in Killeagh village and it is an Irish gem well worth a visit.
As well as being so accessible it also has an excellent collection of 19th century grave memorials. Many Irish graveyards are interesting for their 18th century headstones but Killeagh has a large, varied 19th century collection. From ledger slabs to table tombs, box tombs and crypted vaults, to headstones (small and large), with footstones and rarely preserved and in situ sidetones. The sidetones are cut the same as footstones but they demarcate the sides of the family 3 ft, 6 ft or 9 ft plots and we rarely find them outside of Cork.
In the video above you will see some of the footstones and sidetones as well as a remarkable 19th century O’Brien family headstone carved by Michael Joyce who I believe was a noted builder/stonemason of this parish. The quality of the stone carving is exceptional and we hope to follow his handiwork throughout this area in the coming years.
So, if you are passing and have a spare ten minutes call into Killeagh graveyard -try and time it for a morning visit when the sun shines on the east-facing headstones. Can you spot the different monument types? Take note of the surnames on the headstones and compare with those in the adjacent cemetery.
As our heritage exists in a living landscape also ask is it appropriate that this historic graveyard is used as a store for a monumental sculptor? (I think it is). But then also see can you hear dogs barking in the deconsecrated church and ask is that an appropriate use for what many people feel is sacred space? (I don’t think it is an appropriate use).