Restoration project

Carrickbrennan graveyard illustrates how, sometimes, human intervention can have a positive result on the physical landscape of as particular area. Valerie Smyth, a teacher in the V.E.C. in Dún Laoghaire chose the restoration of Carrickbrennan graveyard as her project for entry into An Taisce Work for Ireland Competition. Following the efforts of Valerie and her students the project won the award. This sowed the seed for the restoration programme as Valerie began to realise the enormity of the task that lay ahead.

In 1984 at a meeting, a working committee was formed and the first task was to get approval for the project from AnCO and this was achieved. There were 15 people selected to undertake research of the burial stones in the graveyard and another 15 employed to undertake the actual restoration. The work involved proved difficult and included the careful removal of undergrowth and dangerous boundary walls.

A vital part of the work was the recording of the inscriptions on the burial stones for reasons of posterity. The collected information was all placed on a computer and it is now possible to locate a grave and the details concerning it. This information can be printed out from a computer.

The dangerous boundary wall was removed and new foundations were laid. This meant that the old wall could be restored. Many of the graves and stones had been damaged over the course of time and these had to be repaired where possible.

With this much great work completed the committee realised that more capital was now required. They set about organising fund-raising events like sponsored swims, treasure hunts and guided tours of the graveyard. The project was completed in 1986 and many people had by now contributed to the project.

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. The graveyard is still tended to by the Dún Laoghaire Borough Historical Society and it stands as a great tribute to the community.

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