Clare County Library
Clare Genealogy

Donated Material: Graveyard Inscriptions

Old Doora Graveyard, Ennis: Transcription Project


The Clare Roots Society

In its ongoing activity of recording gravestone inscriptions in Clare, the Society undertook the work in Old Doora Cemetery, Ennis in March 2010. A group of volunteers came forward:

• Eric & Breda Shaw
• Frank Barry
• Larry Brennan & Michael Falvey
Based on the experiences of the Society in undertaking similar work in Drumcliff, Killone, Clare Abbey and other local cemeteries, an agreed template for recording the inscriptions was decided upon and work commenced. The Society produced a map showing that there were 36 graves to be recorded and photographed.

The Catholic Parish of Doora-Barefield or Doora-Kilraghtis is a combination of three Civil Parishes namely Doora, Templemaley and Kilraghtis. Situated north of the R469 Ennis to Quin road is a small graveyard in the grounds of the ancient Church of Doora. It is accessible through the farmyard of Mr. Jimmy Sheedy. The features of the Church are completely obliterated by a dense covering of ivy. The gravestones date from the mid- 1700s.

Old Doora Church and Graveyard is located within the townland of Bunnow. Bunnow is translated locally as Bun Abhainn, the field sloping towards the river. This early church’s side walls and southern windows probably date from the early eleventh century. The eastern and southern windows are of possibly the same eleventh century. It is believed that St. Breckan was the founder of this church c. AD. 500, ‘Durinierekinin’, which suggest that this eleventh century church replaced an early church.

A large proportion of the old church sites and graveyard around the country are on the sites of Early Medieval / Early Christian ecclesiastical foundations which were originally surrounded by large enclosures, often circular in plan, and usually more extensive than the surviving graveyards.

In some instances the entire enclosing bank, ditch or stone wall survives but more often the line of the enclosure is only indicated by curving field boundaries or crop marks or low earthworks visible only from the air. As well as an early church and burial ground these enclosures contained the dwellings and workshops of the ecclesiastical community.

Old Doora cemetery is well maintained. Some 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. 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 over the cemetery are rough stones marking the graves of deceased persons. 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

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Old Doora Graveyard, Ennis