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Graveyard histories revealed in new booklets


HIDDEN secrets of Drumcliff and Templemaley graveyards have been revealed as part of a joint initiative between the Clare Roots Society and the Clare Archaeological and Historical Society.
Last week, both societies launched their booklets exploring the backgrounds of the local burial grounds. On the evening of the launch, Larry Brennan, Eric Shaw and Fiona de Buitléir of the Roots Society gave a guided tour of Drumcliff Graveyard. This was followed by a visit to Templemaley Graveyard, where Mary Kearns and Edel Greene discussed the church and older burials there.
The Roots Society introduced its booklet, Drumcliff Cemetery: The Hidden History of Ennis and the Archaeological Society launched its booklet, Templemaley Graveyard. The booklets give a background to the burial in Drumcliff and Templemaley and the transcriptions of gravestones within the graveyards.
The Drumcliff book, compiled and edited by Larry Brennan and Eric Shaw, is a joint initiative between the Roots Society and Ennis Tidy Towns. It contains articles on the history of Drumcliff plus the biodiversity, flora and fauna, stone cuttings and ironwork within the cemetery. The book also guides readers through the historical graves in the cemetery from the cholera outbreaks of 1832 and 1849 to the famine grave, paupers’ burial plot and the tragic drowning at Ballybeg Lake on April 1, 1896.
The booklet tells the story of the life and times of Stephen Joseph Meany, a native of Newhall, who was brought back to Drumcliff from overseas to be buried. The booklet also highlights the casualties of the first and second world wars, who are buried in Drumcliff. It tells the background to the deaths of Norah and Delia Davoren, who lost their lives on the RMS Leinster which was sunk off Dun Laoighaire in 1918. There are details of the tragic death of Paddy Morrissey who, aged six years, was shot dead while playing marbles during the troubles of 1921. These graves are all located in the old Drumcliff Cemetery.
The booklet then moves to the new cemetery, where the first burial – that of John K Madigan – took place on May 17, 1936. Along with the background to the Shannon Air Disaster of 1948, there is a look at a rare photograph donated by the Coffey family of actual burials from that event. The collapse of Carmody’s Hotel in 1958 and its consequences are described. By including the history of the Carroll vault, the society is encouraging others to carry on the research and add to the publication with further publications about the graveyard.
The book has details, along with a map, of over 12,000 graves and 2,700 burials, which was carried out by volunteers from the roots society and pupils of Ennis National School in 2007 and 2008. The front cover of the book features a photograph by Pat Brennan of the rising sun over Drumcliff. The book will be launched shortly and will be widely available.
The Clare Archaeological Society booklet sheds light on some of the well-known families associated with the history of Ballyalla and Templemaley. Graveyard transcriptions of the older burials from the 1800s have been compiled by local women Edel Greene and Mary Kearns. The booklet gives a background to the parish of Templemaley and the history of Ballyalla and Templemaley Houses, both located close to the graveyard. It also contains numerous inscriptions of gravestones of local families dating from 19th and 20th centuries and features names including Lyons, Galvin, O’Halloran, O’Dea, Hogan, Moloney, Egan, Ryan and Cahir.

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