Written By Christy Lehane
Nohoval Lower Graveyard is located on the Cork side of the free flowing river Blackwater on the R582 Knocknagree to Rathmore road and taking the L 5156 side road to the graveyard. Nohoval is also regarded as the headquarters of the powerful O’Dalaigh clan of old.
The name Nohoval is contained in the names of three adjacent townlands namely Nohoval Upper, Nohoval Lower and Nohoval Daly. History has recorded that a monastery was erected in Nohoval in the year 556 AD by Saint Finian whose feast is celebrated on December 13th . Cromwell’s forces later destroyed the monastery. In the year 832 AD a round tower was built for protection from the invading Danes. Both church and tower were connected to underground passages to enable people to flee when under attack. The church was built with limestone. Many stone forts existed in a nearby field but all these are now laid low the stones being used for road building. Moving on to around 1645 the monks at Nohoval were again dislodged from their home and to build a new chapel nearby in Nohoval Daly. It is not known when the monks finally left this area. Thomas Lynch a local man from the Bower ( a townland just outside Rathmore village ) is credited with making most of the tombstones in this graveyard including a headstone for his father who died on 16th August 1793. Rounds were also performed at Nohoval especially on Good Friday. There is one grave in this cemetery known as Shine Lawlor’s which tradition tells us was the altar of the old church which stood for 1000 years. A priest’s grave that of Fr. O’Leary dated 1784 and Fr. John Sheehan is situated at the Western side of the graveyard near the entrance gate. His grave is no 005 in Historic Graves Recording on system. In olden times rounds were made around priests graves. A total of 196 headstones are now visible in Nohoval graveyard.
Eoghan Rua O’Suilleabhain who was born in nearby Meentogues had associations with Gneevguilla where he had a school for a while and Knocknagree where he had a school and where he died in a fever hut. Some local tradition say he was buried in Nohoval Graveyard. Perhaps local church records might solve the question but Ray Bateson in his book titled “ An Illustrated Guide To The Graves Of Irish Writers” states that Eoghan Rua O’Suilleabhain is buried in Muckross Abbey Killarney, in the choir, under the third slab out from the arched O’Sullivan Mor tomb recess in the right – hand wall.