Rich his­tory

Irish Examiner - County - - Front page -

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.

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