As part of the Summer of Heritage, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown have opened up Carrickbrennan Graveyard for tours every Tuesday and Thursday. I joined one of the tours last week, and it was fascinating. I have passed the gate that leads to this location many, many times in the past without realising what it led to. I am glad that the mystery is solved. This is a small graveyard started by the Cistercian Monks in the 6th Century, that is packed with history and amazing stories. The line of Irish Yews leads you down through the centre of the graveyard. This site includes the ruins of a church and has a building that was used as a guardhouse for the security men that were hired by families of the descendants to watch for bodysnatchers for a few days after the deceased had been buried. I know, yuck! Grave robbing was a very profitable business at the time, and the proximity of Monkstown to the port of Dun Laoghaire meant that bodies could be easily and quickly shipped to England. There is a number of people buried here who died in maritime disasters, which include many of the 267 souls lost in the sinking of the ‘Rochdale’ and the 120 Soldiers that were lost on the ‘Prince of Wales’, both sinking occurred on the 19th of November 1807, as well as the crew of five from the ‘Ajax’, who were all swept out to sea with their Captain (John McNeil Boyd, buried in St. Patricks Cathedral, Dublin) on the 9th of February 1861. Roger Casement’s sister is also resting here, she died at the age of four, a few months before Roger was born. Another character who is located in this graveyard is Joseph Holt, who was a leader of the United Irishmen, he took part in the 1798 Rebellion in Wicklow. I am constantly fascinated by the history we pass by on a daily basis without realising it. The Cistercian Monks were also involved in Monkstown Castle, which will be the subject of a separate post.\
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