The Story of Holy Cross graveyard, Charleville, Co. Cork

Surveying in Holy Cross

This graveyard is in the townland of Rathgoggin South, in the civil parish of Charleville, and in the Barony of Orrery and Kilmore.
Also known as Rathgoggin Graveyard, it is located on the east side of the N20 road, on the southern end of Charleville town. 
It is a large graveyard, triangular in shape. It is bounded on two sides by public roads and is enclosed by concrete walls. In the northern half of the graveyard there is an earlier graveyard, with the ruin of Rathgoggin medieval parish church at its centre.
The earliest memorials date to the 1750s and the graveyard is still in use with a cemetery extension.
A total of 705 memorials have been recorded.
Surnames recorded include Mortell, Quinn, O’Regan, Gaffney, O’Driscoll, Mallone, Ryan, Drinan, Dennehy, Kennedy and Flynn.
Interesting Facts
Inside the north west wall of the graveyard is the site of a well, known locally as Trinity Well, which has a low stone surround, but is now dry and disused.
Originally the graveyard was known by its Gaelic name An Rath, so called because of the plethora of raths and ringforts in the area. It then became known as Rath Cogan, named after local Norman family De Cogan. It later became known as Rathgoggan. John De Cogan built Rathgoggin Parish Church between 1251 and 1291. The Cogan surname is still encountered encountered throughout Co. Cork in both the Cogan and Goggin's form. This church was the first church associated with Rathgoggin and the subsequent town of Charleville.
The Jacobite poet Sean Clarach Mac Domhnaill, who was born in nearby Churchtown in 1691, died in 1754. He is buried near the church, his grave is marked by a tall limestone cross on a pedestal. ‘Mo Ghile Mear’ is his best known work. It is a lament written after the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charles at the Battle of Culloden, in 1746.
The parents of Archbishop Thomas William Croke of Cashel and Emly are buried here. They were William Croke, who was a land agent, and Isabella Croke (née Plummer) who was the daughter of Brudenell Plummer, an aristocratic Protestant family of Mount Plummer, Broadford, County Limerick (20 km to the west of Charleville). Her family disowned her when she married William in 1817. They had eight children, six boys and two girls. William died in 1834. Another son of theirs is also buried here. He was Reverend Father William Croke, who was CC in Charleville in 1849 when he contracted famine fever and died at the age of 29 years. Their daughter Isabella Croke (1825-88) became a Sister of Mercy nun. She worked as a nurse with the British army in the Crimea (1854-6). She is buried in the Convent of Mercy burial ground at the northern end of the Main st. Charleville.
This post was researched and written as part of a grassroots heritage tourism project ( in collaboration with Ballyhoura Development CLG (, Cork Co. Council ( and Limerick Co. Council ( The stories were initially gathered during a community survey of the graveyard. They form part of the Historic Graves Project Destination for Ballyhoura (