The Clare Roots Society
In its ongoing activity of recording gravestone inscriptions
in Clare, the Society undertook the work in Old Clare Hill Cemetery, Clarecastle
in the Summer of 2009. A group of volunteers came forward:
Eric & Breda Shaw
Frank & Kathleen Barry
Based on the experiences of the Society in undertaking similar work in
Killone & Clare Abbey, an agreed template for recording the inscriptions
was decided upon and work commenced. A map showing the approximate location
of each grave was drawn up and it showed that there were over 170 graves
to be recorded and photographed.
There is no evidence that a Church or Monastery ever existed at Clare
Hill but in the 1940s a holy-water fount was discovered buried in the
ground there. The gravestones date from the 1740s.
This cemetery is very well maintained and only one broken headstone was
noted. It is hoped that this stone can be repaired. Many fine examples
of stone-cutting were found particularly on the recumbent tombstones,
with ornate decoration and lettering. Most of the stones were of local
limestone and over the years, this stone has been attacked by white lichen.
This made some of the letters difficult to decipher and some unusual surnames
were discovered. The volunteers gave second opinions to each other on
the interpretation of the wordings and some of the volunteers went back
again and again to view the lettering in different lighting conditions.
That work has now been completed and it is hoped that the findings will
be of interest to the local community and to genealogists locally and
much further afield. Scattered all over the cemetery are about 65 rough
stones marking the graves of deceased persons. Perhaps locals might come
forward with some of the family names attached to those markers. About
a dozen grave-stone were found of English soldiers or their families who
had died while stationed at the Barracks in Clarecastle in the mid-1800s.
A number of inscriptions appear to refer to seamen who died as their ships
were in the Port of Clare and who found a last resting place in Clare
Hill. During the cholera outbreak in June and July 1832, about 100 people
died and are buried in the lower part of the cemetery in unmarked graves.
But there are a number of named gravestones of further victims of that
cholera epidemic, primarily that of Fr. O’Brien and of Surgeon James
Read of the 68th Regiment Light Infantry.
Clare Roots Society wishes to record its gratitude to those volunteers
who undertook the work.
The correct copying of inscriptions from old gravestones is fraught with
difficulties. It is inevitable that mistakes will occur. While every effort
has been made to record the individual gravestones as accurately as possible,
Clare Roots Society wishes to apologise to any individual or family whose
family records are recorded in error. Should any family or individual
become aware of errors to these records, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org