Carrickbrennan Cemetery

Carrickbrennan graveyard illustrates how, sometimes, human intervention can have a positive result on the physical landscape of as particular area. A restoration project was undertaken in 1985, organised by a dedicated committee.

The graveyard had been allowed to fall into ruins and a valuable part of the physical landscape of the area was in danger, its subsequent preservation must be deemed a huge local success story.

One of the most famous people to be buried here is Joseph Holt, an insurgent leader during the 1798 rebellion in Wicklow and Wexford. He was born of Protestant Cromwellian parents, although he finished up taking an oath of allegiance to the United Irishmen. Information was received about his limited involvement (at the early stages he was sourcing pike handles) and his house was burned down.

Following this incident, Holt joined with the United Irishmen and proved to be a very capable leader. In November 1798 he was forced to surrender, his life was spared and he was transported to Australia. On his return to Ireland in 1814, he spent his last years in Kingstown.

Aside from graves there are also monuments in Carrickbrennan graveyard and they tell an equally fascinating, often sad story of our past. Kingstown and the surrounding areas have a history closely bound up with the harbour and the sea.

Over the years there have been many disasters recorded, resulting in public outcry in the early 1800s for an asylum harbour. This was built in Kingstown between 1817 and 1821.

There was a huge storm in 1861 and 12 ships were trying to make their way to shore in Kingstown, many of them were wrecked. Captain Boyd was in charge of the 'Ajax' and tried with his crew to rescue the two remaining ships, both he and his crew perished.

A plot was dug for Captain Boyd in Carrickbrennan, although it wasn't used. Instead a monument was erected there in his honour, which has been restored.

The graveyard was closed in 1874, due to a cholera epidemic in the area and there wasn't sufficient room for burials. It was then allowed to fall into decay, but thankfully as mentioned above, was restored in 1985.

Graveyards are part of the landscape in most areas around the country. However, they tend to be forgotten about sometimes. Restoration projects, like the one undertaken in Carrickbrennan, help preserve and protect these valuable resources. Headstones, graves and monuments are subject to weathering or indeed vandalism. A concerted effort is needed in communities to minimise the damage to the landscape.

previousPrevious - Davy Stephens
Next - Restoration projectnext