Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Sad Sad Cemetery

Well, I just cant' wait. I have to post some of my photos from Ireland. I'll get to my fourth and last family history trip later. (I knew I couldn't stay organized)

While my traveling companions joked about my pre-occupation with cemeteries, the truth is that I only visited two that weren't attached to ruins/abbeys/castles that we were already visiting. One was on Inishmore, and I walked from our B&B, the Kilmurvey House, down the road one morning as they finished getting packed. The other was down a side road in Dunquoin (Dún Chaoin) just before we got to the Blasket Island Visitor Centre ( Blascaod Centre) and museum at the tip of the Dingle peninsula. How did I know about this, you ask? Rick Steves, of course - the travel guru of "off the beaten path" experiences. There was a small sign that told us to turn right for the Old Burial Ground. I instantly directed our driver to turn. I did not take time to vote on this! Not far down the road we found this sad, sad, cemetery. It appeared as though I was the only one that found this Rick Steves suggestion appealing.

Notice the warning about the grounds being uneven. That warning is an understatement.

This is the "well worn" path up through the cemetery.

The familiar Celtic cross dominated every cemetery I saw.
Close-up of the hand carved Gaelic inscription. I wish I knew his name - or hers? I wonder what else it says? Many Blascot Island residents were supposedly buried here. Could this be a fisherman from the Blascots?

Remember the warning on the entrance sign? This is the reason why. This was the center Celtic cross headstone on a small hill in the center of the graveyard. It rose above the rest. Look closely at the GIGANTIC hole at the base and the fact that it appears as thought it had been moved. Eerie for sure. I could find no identifiable markings on either side of the grave, but it had a plaque on a base near it - all in Gaelic. As I looked through my photos, I must not have taken a photo of the plaque. As I walked back down the hill to catch up with my friends, I noticed many more of these holes in the hill some even larger. If you fell into one of these you would feel like Alice in Wonderland.

Detail of the fish relief at the top.

The back side of the monument at the base.

Angel or resurrection in the wall beside the grave.

This was by far the most beautiful grave in the cemetery. It was finely carved and had images on both sides. It is the resting place of Tomás Ó Criomhthain, a fisherman, author and famous resident of Great Blascot Island.

We discovered this connection when we went a bit farther down the road to the visitor centre, and there was a poster about his life hanging on the wall. Were there others at the cemetery that we missed? I'll never know. Cemeteries often fall into disrepair, but how could this happen to an Irish hero?
If you are ever on the Slea Head drive around the Dingle peninsula, look for the small sign pointing you to the Old Dunquin Burial Ground and lay a flower on Tomas' grave, but look out for the giant holes in the ground!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful old cemetery. Wish we had gotten to that area. Must put it on my list. I did not even think of looking at what Rick Steves suggested, will have to do that as well.