In our recent survey of Glendalough graveyard we looked at, and photographed every headstone. Each headstone is unique and some stand out as being exceptional for a variety of reasons. This headstone is exceptional within the graveyard but also internationally. Yet so many visitors are unaware of this hidden treasure and one of our hopes for the Glendalough Heritage Forum is that they will develop a trail of the 18th century headstones of Glendalough.
Irish historic headstones of the late 18th and early 19th century compare favourably with any other country of the time and Dennis Cullen's headstones are amongst the most accomplished. The folk art elements, the bible carved into stone, and the stone cutting/letter carving skills show by Cullen are exemplary.
The epitaph is straight forward and heartfelt;
DENNIS CULLEN STONE CUTTER MONASEED
Here Lieth the Body
of Elizabeth Roach
Alias Burbrige Who
Departed this Life the
20th of December 1775
AGd 28 years A Loving
Wife and A tender Mother
Requiescat in Pace Amen.
This community survey wil continue throughout the coming Autumn and Winter and we aim to add to the previous and ongoing work done by the likes of Ada Longfield and Chris Corlett on 18th century headstones in Wicklow. A visit by the north Wexford 'gravemen' during our survey gave us a crash course on the Cullen stones - they quickly pointed out the stones where Cullen did the decorative carving and apprentices did the lettering. Cullen always uses the decorative H and his letter carving and proportions are always high quality.
The north Wexford gravemen have surveyed over 12 historic graveyards in the last few years and are about to publish those surveys online. They started working with Gerry Mullens in Kilnahue, Co. Wexford around the same time that we started the HGs project and Gerry attended the first few training workshops we ran in 2011, as a trainer. Interesting to see his generosity has borne fruit in so many ways.