Plaque unveiled at Famine graveyard
By Jimmy Woulfe Mid-West Correspondent
Thursday, March 04, 2010
An ecumenical blessing took place in a Famine graveyard in Limerick yesterday.
The blessing was carried out at Brigid’s graveyard in Kilteely by Fr Donal McNamara, parish priest of St Munchin’s, along with Church of Ireland Dean of Limerick Rev Maurice Sirr.
St Brigid’s was the burial place for thousands of people during the Famine.
English writer Spencer T Hall in his book, Life and Death in Ireland in 1849, wrote about Limerick: “Not less than 500 cholera cases occurred in a week. One vast grave existed in a field outside of the city into which nearly 2,000 bodies had been gathered in less than a month.”
Bard of Thomond Michael Hogan, who grew up next to this graveyard, in his memoirs wrote: “I have a fearful recollection of those dreadful years of devastation. I remember seeing the famine and plague pits open in the fields of Kileely where thousands of coffinless corpses were flung in heaps over each other.”
Mayor Kevin Kiely yesterday unveiled a commemorative plaque in recognition of the many people buried in St Brigid’s.
He said the city council’s environment department plan to carry out improvement works in the graveyard and surrounding area.
“I know this area very well and intended, during this mayoralty, that appropriate recognition be accorded to the many souls interred in St Brigid’s. I hope this gesture by Limerick City Council will go in some way towards respecting the memory of the people who have been buried here during what were tragic times.”
This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Thursday, March 04, 2010