While in Ireland during what laughingly passed as a summer in 2015 I spent time doing maintenance at a graveyard. Three of us spent a few hours mowing and strimming Rath Graveyard near Ballyvaughan in County Clare. Well, I did the mowing and my companions hogged the strimmers. There was only a limited area where mowing was possible. I operated the machine where no mower had gone before. Yes, it was a push mower as a ride-on would be useless in the ancient cemetery.
Pictured, P.J. Francis at Rath Graveyard
Rath has been used for several centuries, and people are still interred there. In fact, I visited the graves of people I knew many years ago. There was one person I did not know had died. I was happy to help make their resting places more accessible.
My sister, Bernie McInerney, turned up with tea and sandwiches at lunchtime. Since my companions, Kieran McInerney and Adrian Burke, showed no signs of relinquishing the strimmers or protective apparel, and there was no more mowing to be done, I departed to visit my mother.
It had been an interesting experience. It had been many years since I last visited Rath and that was for a funeral. You can 'like' Ballyvaughan Graveyards on Facebook. They can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. This may be of interest to people tracing their roots, as headstones and markers have been uncovered that were hidden for a long time. Volunteers are documenting the burial sites. That is a slow, laborious task. A lot of people from the Ballyvaughan Workhouse were buried in unmarked graves. Famine victim were probably buried there.
Some graves have stones with no inscriptions. The inscriptions on some stones are illegible. A plaque on the gate reads: “Though you know not my name, remember me. Though I may not have a special spot, remember me. Though I was only here for a very short while, remember me. Though I may not rest in this sacred place, remember me. Though my soul was just passing by, remember me. Remember me. Remember us. Pray for all.”
Francis McInerney recently made a new gate for the Loughrask graveyard. Fundraisers are held such as the October 25 cake sale in the village of Ballyvaughan. All proceeds went towards the upkeep of the four area graveyards: Bishop's Quarters, Gleninagh, Loughrask and Rath.