Holy Cross


Coordinates: 52.350541, -8.676742

Graveyard Code: 
RMP/Site number: 
Rathgoggan South
Number of Memorials: 


The Charleville graveyard is located to the east of the man Cork/Limerick road the N20 on the southern outskirts of Charleville town, which is in the parish pf Rathgoggan, barony of Orrery and Kilmore, County Cork. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, the Norman family of Miles de Cogan was granted part of the Kingdom of Cork by King Henry II of England in 1482. This family, it has been established from the records, ruled over that area of northeast Cork, which included the present parishes of Ballyhea and Charleville from 1251 to 1439, and during this period they built several churches, one of which is possibly the medieval church of Rathgoggan.(now Charleville).

Originally known by its Gaelic name of An Ráth, so called because of the plethora of raths and ringforts in the area, it then became known as Ráth Cogan in keeping with the Norman custom of the time in affixing the family name to their lands. This name later became Rathgoggan, and the parish is recorded in a Papal list compiled in 1291 as Ecclesia de Ráth, later on the Cogan name was added, Cojem Rayt, then Gogan Rayt and finally Rathgoggan.  John de Cogan built Rathgoggan Parish Church, which may also have been called Holy Trinity Church in Ballysally between 1251 and 1291 in what is now Holy Cross Graveyard. There is also a Trinity Well, which has a low circular stone-built surround. The church is the first associated with the parish of Rathgoggan and the subsequent the town of Charleville. To this day the areas of Charleville are divided into Rathgoggan, North, Rathgoggan Middle and Rathgoggan South

According to local folklore there was once an underground passageway beneath the church which connected it to Rathgoggan Castle, no trace of which, now remains, but which was reputed to stand in the New Line area around where the Glen Bridge is situated. The church is in a very poor state of preservation and is covered in thick ivy and other vegetation, and is located in the centre of the graveyard.

There are a number of penal graves in the medieval section of the graveyard distinguished by having only the initials of the deceased carved on the headstone. There are some burials inside the church. A grave not enclosed is that of the Jacobite poet Sean Clárach Mac Domhnaill, who was born in nearby Churchtown in 1691, lived most of his adult life in Charleville, died there in 1754 and is buried in Holy Cross Graveyard. The monument types in the graveyard are chest tombs, Celtic Revival Headstones and there are examples of a few military headstones there.

Prominent People Buried in Holy Cross Graveyard

Along with Sean Clarach Mac Domhnaill, the other prominent people who lie at rest there are Isabella Croke (nee Plummer) the widow of William Croke. These are the parents of Archbishop Thomas William Croke of Cashel and Emly. Also buried there is another of her sons, Rev. Fr. William Croke, who was CC in Charleville in 1849 when he contracted famine Fever and died at the age of 29 years.

One of their two daughters, who both entered the Mercy Order of Nuns in Charleville. Isabella, is also buried in Charleville, albeit in the Convent of Mercy burial ground at the northern end of Main Street, while the second daughter, Margaret, is buried in the Mercy Convent burial ground in Bathurst, Australia, where she led the foundation of that Mercy House.


MMcGrath, April 2020

See Archaeological inventory of County Cork Volume 4: North Cork

See associated links:

Survey documents


Photo Grave Name Surname
  • Michael
  • Fleming
  • Anne
  • Spillane
  • Michael
  • Slattery
  • Des
  • Fitzgerald
  • Edmund
  • Dick