A rural region’s deep connection with its past has culmination in the publication of a fascinating new book.
A rural region’s deep connection with its past has culmination in the publication of a fascinating new book. Murragh: A Place of Graves, which was launched in Enniskeane BEDA Hall, came about as a community-led heritage project.
The book focuses on the graveyard and the transcription and recording of details from about 90 old headstones.
Some date back to the 1780s and the project also involved the investigation of 20 unmarked graves.
The research work involved huge time input and voluntary effort by people from the Enniskeane, Ballineen, Newcestown, and Templemartin areas, near Bandon.
Those involved were mainly members of Ballineen and Enniskeane Area Heritage Group, along with the Murragh and Templemartin Parish Group.
Primarily, the book provides evidence of an ancient burial ground or tumulus and a detailed record of old graves and headstone inscriptions.
As was widely reported in advance of the launch, the book claims that the legendary Fianna warrior Diarmuid Ua Duibhne is buried in an ancient tumulus or aboveground burial chamber, close to the riverside cemetery. Diarmuid was one of the central characters in An Tóraíocht (The Pursuit of) Dhiarmada agus Gráinne, the epic tale of love, betrayal, and death. These claims were made as far back as 1843 after findings by historian John Windele.
Daragh O’Gowan, a retired lecturer at DIT, and Michael O’Connell of Ballineen and Enniskeane Area Heritage Group, spent a year investigating the mound. The site was also visited by representatives of the National Monument Service who confirmed the mound was a tumulus.
Mr O’Gowan said the Murragh tumulus was an ancient pilgrimage site which once had its own path. It reportedly dates back to the second century AD, while the Christian graveyard dates from about the 12th century.
In their months of work in recording details of head- stones, John Joe and Ursula Lyons from the Murragh group discovered the graves of two members of the Third West Cork Brigade of the IRA, from 1921.
They also found members of the local landed gentry had been interred there along with ancestors of many families still connected to the locality.
Mr Lyons, 82, said he had always been interested in local history and was concerned the old graveyard would fade from memory as generations passed. Until the publication of the book, very few people were aware of the location of the old graveyard, he believed.
He said: “There is a lot of interesting reading in the book; it’s a record of times past.”
Hannah McCarthy at the launch of ‘Murragh: A Place of Graves’.
Laoise Whyte and Ellie Mulqueen attend the launch. Pictures: Denis Boyle
Jacinta Kehily, Margaret O’Flynn, Helen Whyte, and Deirdre Whyte at the launch in the BEDA Hall in Enniskeane.
Publishing committee members with Pat Canniffe of Bandon Historical Journal, front, who launched the book.