It’s Halloween – what better time to take a wander round an old graveyard! Fortunately, we’re well endowed with them in Ireland, in varying states of preservation and decay.
Except for the wealthy, who could afford to erect tombs and decorate churches with effigies of themselves and carved wall plaques, most people who died in Ireland up to the 1700s lie in unmarked graves. However, in the 18th century the practice of erecting carved headstones become commonplace for those who could pay for it. Styles of headstone carving evolved over time. Local craftsmen used the symbols in vogue, interpreting them according to their own ideas and their level of skill. The result can best be described as folk art.
Bridget Sweeney’s grave in Kilmallock Co Limerick is memorialised with a great example of a nineteenth century carved headstone
One recurring theme is the passion, or crucifixion of Christ, and a headstone we saw…
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