Scattery Island: Teampall na Marbh
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Teampall na Marbh is the only church on Scattery where people bury their dead and the interior of the church is piled with gravestones lying at all angles. The adjoining graveyard has always been neglected as the people of Scattery never entered a graveyard except for funerals or month's mind. On the occasion of a funeral six men only shouldered the coffin, two at the head, two at the foot and two ready to relieve or "spell" the others at intervals. The grave was blessed and the usual prayers said while the coffin rested on the handles of the two shovels used by the gravediggers. After the burial the gravediggers placed their shovels across the grave and left them there for a month until the "flagging day". This occurred on the month's mind. One of the gravediggers would have removed the crossed shovels and one of the family would break a bottle while another sprinkled holy water.

Then two of the biggest flags or stones were turned, as turning the flags represented a change for the soul in Purgatory. After the Rosary was said one of those present would break a glass tumbler that had been kept aside after the wake to symbolise a soul breaking free of Purgatory.

Teampall na Marbh

Teampall na  Marbh
Teampall na Marbh

John O'Donovan has left a detailed description of the church in 1839 from the 'Ordnance Survey Letters':
About fifty perches to the southeast of the Damliag there is a large Church now called Teampull na Marbh, i.e., ecclesia mortuorum, because it is the only one on the island in which people bury the dead, but surely this is not its original name. To describe this Church. It is sixty seven feet ten inches long, and eighteen feet six inches broad (measured on the inside). Its west gable is featureless. The south wall contains a doorway placed at the distance of twenty one feet from the west gable, but now reduced to a formless breach. East of this in the same wall there are three windows all decidedly modern and not worth particular description. There is in the east gable a large pointed window measuring on the inside eight feet eight inches in width and very high, and on the outside three feet four inches in width and seven feet in height. The lower part of it is built up with modern mason work. The north wall has at the distance of seven feet eight inches from the west gable, a round-headed but very modern doorway and eighteen feet to the east of it a rude pointed arch nine feet six inches high and eight feet four inches wide; and three feet ten inches to the east of it, another arch of similar characteristics and dimensions. At the distance of five feet four inches to the east of this there is a quadrangular doorway five feet four inches high and two feet eleven inches wide at the lintel and three feet two inches at the bottom. Its lintel is a thin flag four feet six inches long, one foot eight inches broad and only three inches thick. Over this doorway is a small rectilineally pointed window which looks very like a primitive one, but which is hardly to be depended upon! There seem to have been lateral Iardoms into which these arches and doorway led but they are all destroyed with the exception of one fragment of a wall projecting from the northeast corner. The walls of this Church are two feet six inches thick, and the side walls about seventeen feet high.

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