CLONABREANY GRAVEYARD CO. MEATH
TOMBSTONES AND INSCRIPTIONS
Recorded by Dr. Beryl F.E Moore & Michael Kenny
CLONABREANY GRAVEYARD is roughly square with the following measurements…west side 141 ft, north 180 ft, east 153 ft and south 148 ft. Small dense woods of very large and old trees abut the graveyard on the north and south sides. A circular path encloses a conical hill upon which all the graves are sited. On this hill grow two huge old ash trees, a cedar, four yew trees and a big clump of box wood. The roots of these trees and branches which they frequently shed have done (and continue to do) considerable damage to the headstones. About half of the graves have only marker stones. The old Church is completely gone but must have been on top of the little hill and included the Plunket – Reli box tomb and the Kearney mortuary surround. Cogan says the Church stones were carted away for building purposes but the hill is littered with large stones; and several mullions of primitive windows are to be seen. Very few burials have taken place in this century. Many of the headstones have only been smoothed on one side and that contains the inscription. The wood on the north side must have been part of the graveyard in early days because during a storm in 1962 three skeletons were raised out of the ground when a huge old tree fell. The graveyard is always called Clonabreany but really is in Bobsville, the east edge being the division between the two townlands. The graveyard is one of the worst kept in County Meath and must have been so for many a long day as Cogan describes it as ‘weed- infested’.
Clonabreany headstones on the Southside working in rows from east to west
1) TULLY 1833 – A very large upright headstone with domed top around which we get ‘GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO’, a cross IHS and small cherub’s head with outstretched wings. There are some fine small carvings of leaves and leafy trails which seem to start from a plant in a pot at the very centre of the top above the latin text. On each side we get an ornamental chalice and a frame runs around the inscription about two inches from the edge and this space is filled with little intricate leafy carvings. “HERE REST THE REMAINS OF PATRICK TULLY OF KELLS WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE 9TH OF APRIL 1833 IN THE 77TH YEAR OF HIS AGE. THIS FRAIL REMEMORIAL OF IMPERISHABLE REGARD IS INSCRIBED AS A RECORD OF THE TENDEREST AFFECTION TO HIS MEMORY BY HIS WIFE MARY TULLY ALAIS BENNET”. At the bottom we get ‘REQUIESCANT IN PACE AMEN’.
2) OLTAUGH 1760 – Simple small narrow headstone with domed top, cross IHS and heart with three barbs. “PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF TERRENCE OLTAUGH WHO DIED FEBRUARY THE 6th 1760 AGED 80 AND HIS WIFE CATHRn OLTAUGH DIED DECbr Ye 20th 1764 AGED 66 Yrs.
3) FARMER 1787 – Tilts forward and to the left, has a notched top, full sunburst around a cross IHS and three nails with a scroll design on each side. “THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY NICHOLAS FARMER IN MEMORY OF HIS BROTHER WILLIAM FARMER WHO DEPd THIS LIFE NOVr 21ST 1787 AGED 23 Yrs. ALSO HIS SISTER CATHERINE FARMER DIED MAY 1ST 1789 AGED 38 Yrs”.
4) MURTAUGH 1772 – Notched top with full sunburst enclosing cross IHS and heart with three barbs. A tulip on each side. “HERE LIETH THE BODY OF LAWRENCE MURTAUGH WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE MARCH Ye 16. 1772 AGEd 90. ALSO HIS WIFE ELIZABETH DEALY DEPARTEd THIS LIFE Ye 17.. AGED ..Yr. ERECTED BY PATRICK LYNCH FOR HIMSELF AND HIS POSTERy A D 1774”. A carving of a Millstone follows.
5) FLOOD 1813 – Domed top with an eight-rayed star (instead of a sunburst) around a cross IHS and heart. A cherub with wings on each side “LORD HAVE MERCY ON THE SOUL OF JAMES FLOOD WHO DEPd THIS NOVbr 5TH 1827 AGED 73 Yr. ALSO HIS DAUGHTER MARGARET WHO DIED JUNE 7TH 1813 AGED 13 YEARS. ALSO HIS WIFE ELIZABETH FLOOD WHO DIED APRIL 25. 1833 AGED 78. ALSO ELLEN FLOOD WHO DIED MARCH 18TH 1832. ERECTED BY ANDREW FLOOD”.
6) CONNEL 1755 – Domed top with cross and IHS. It tilts backwards and is half buried in the ground. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY THOs CONnL IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER PHILLIP CONNEL WHO DIED 7br Ye 12TH AGED 72 Yrs 1755”.
7) CONNEL 1734 – This stone was more than half underground. It is a wide old type with large IHS at top which is rounded. “PRAY FOR Ye SOUL OF THOMs CONNEL WHO DIED MAY 1734 AGED 55. ALSO FOR MARY GAUn WHO DIED NOVEMBr 1745 AGED 43. ORDd by EDMOND CONNEL”.
8) FARMER 1755 – An old stone three-quarters buried in the ground. It is very rough and rounded at the top. It tilts forward and has a cross and IHS. “THIS STONE AND BURIAL PLACE BELONGETH TO THOMAS FARMER AND HIS POSTERITY 1755” Then on the back of the stone facing west is a cross with expanded ends at the top and “THE AFORESd THOMs FARMER DIED IN JULY 1756 AGED 70 YRS”.
9) No name or date – Plain stone with cross with expanded ends and the letter ‘A’ on the left of it and ‘F’ on the right.
10) CAFFRY 1756 – A very oldlooking rough stone tilting backwards. On each side a wellcarved dove standing on a tree with a branch in her mouth. A full sunburst in centre of top with cross IHS and flaming heart. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY PATRICK AND CHARLES CAFFRY IN MEMORY OF THEr FATHER CHARLES CAFFRY WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE APRIL 16. 1756 AGED 57 Yrs. HIS WIFE FANNY CAFFRY DIED JUNE 15. 1780 AGED 60. HIS SON JAMES CAFFRY DIED JULY 25. 1759 AGED 25 Yrs. M…CAFFRY DIED JANy 1788”.
11) NEWMAN 1820 – Tilting forward and almost lying on the ground. Domed top. ‘GLORIA ETC’ around top, cross and IHS in centre of top. “ERECTED BY CATHERINE NEWMAN OF KELLS IN MEMORY OF HER FATHER JOHN NEWMAN WHO DIED JANy 1820 AGED 75 YEARS AND FAMILY”.
12) SWEENEY 1805 – A raised plaque in centre of top with sunburst cross and IHS. This is a large stone with a domed top. “THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY PATk OWEN AND DENNIS SWEENEY IN MEMORY OF THEIR FATHER PETER SWEENEY DEPd APRIL 8th 1807 AGED 52 Yrs. THEIR MOTHER MARY SWEENEY ALIAS LYNCH DEPd JULY 16th 1805 AGED 58 Yrs”.
13) CARBERY 1766 – Almost all of this old type of very roughly carved stone is buried in the ground. A large cross and IHS at top. “PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF MARY CARBERY WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE FEBRUARY 10TH 1766 AGED 50 “.
14) LYNCH 1749 – A small stone much sunk in the ground and tilting to the right. Domed top with cross and IHS in centre. “PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF JOHN LYNCH WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE MARCH Ye 1st 1749 AGED 90 YEARS”.
15) CAFFRY no date – This very thin old stone is broken in two pieces and has apparently flaked off another stone. We could only read an odd word here and there. Cross and IHS at top centre. “PRAY FOR … SOUL OF …..CAFFRY WH…..DEPARTED …..LIFE …….59 AGED 25 Yr…. CHAR…..CAFRY.”
16) NEWMAN 1789 – Domed top with ‘GLORIA ETC’ and sunburst around cross and IHS and heart. An eight petalled rose on each side and a lot of fancy carving. “THIS MONUt WAS ERECT,d BY OWEN NEWMAN OF KILLSKYRE IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER OWEN NEWMAN WHO DIED IN THE YEAR 1789. ALSO HIS MOTHER FANNY NEWMAN DIED IN 1812. ALSO HIS BROTHERS JAMES DIED IN 1814, JOHN IN 1815 AND MICHL JANry THE 30. 1825”. Long ‘S’ is used and in one case a comma for an ‘E’.
17) NEWMAN 1749 – Very old type of stone more than half buried in the ground, with a domed top and cherub on each side. Cross IHS and heart with three barbs in a full sunburst. It was covered in moss till we cleaned it off. “HERE LIETH THE BODY OF JAMES NEWMAN WHO DIED FEBRUARY THE 16. ANNO DOMINI 1754 AGED 68 YEARS. HIS WIFE MARY NEWMAN ALIAS BARRY DIED SEPTEMr ANNO DOMINI 1749”. This stone is flaking badly where it was underground.
18) TIGH 1779 – An old stone with rounded top, half sunburst over a cross IHS and heart, with some fancy carving on each side. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTd BY MARY TIGH IN MEMORY OF HER SON JAMs TIGH WHO DIED MAY THE 21st 1779 AGED 24 YEARS”.
19) O’DONNELL 1742 and BRADY 1746 – This stone is three-quarters underground and tilting to the left. It appears to be of a poor quality Cross and IHS. “PRAY FOR Ye SOUL OF MARTIN O’ DONNEL WHO DIED IN APRIL 1742 AGED 60. THOMs & JOHn BRADY DIED JANUARY 1746”.
20) KEOG 1813 – This whole stone was underground and when we dug it up we found the top was broken off, so we do not know if there was any carving above the inscription. “ERECTD BY BRYAN KEOG IN COMMENon OF HIS POSTERITY A D 1813. REQUIESCANT IN PACE AMEN”.
21) COGAN 1833 – Very big stone tilting forward with a domed top. ‘GLORIA ETC’ around top, cross and IHS in centre. “ERECTED IN MEMORY OF PATk COGAN OF OXFIELD WHO DIED ON THE 29th OF SEPTr 1833 AGd 76 Yrs AND OF HIS WIFE MARGt COGAN ALIAS CASEY WHO DIED ON THE 13TH OF JUNE 1834 AGd 60 Yrs, AS ALSO OF THEIR SONS JAMES COGAN WHO DIED ON THE 28th OF MAY 1840 AGh 48 Yrs AND PETEr COGAN WHO DIED ON THE 29th OF JANry 1841 Agd 46 Yrs. ANNE COGAN ALIAS FLOOD WIFE TO PETER WHO DIED AUGUST 10TH 1861 AGED 50 YEARS”. There is a stopper stone on each side of this large headstone.
22) FARLY 1815 – Dome in centre of top. A small stone almost buried in the ground, with a full sunburst cross and IHS in centre and a cherub with outstretched wings underneath. A stylised rose on each side. “ERECTED BY THOMAS FARLY IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER BARTEL AND HIS TWO SONS PHILIP AND JAMES FARLY WHO DEPd this life in the year 1815”.
23) No name or date….Very worn old broken stone with a large plain cross but no inscription.
24) PLUNKET 1745 – A very wide old stone roughly cut and half buried in the ground. “JAMs PLUNKET…” This forms a scroll at the top but a couple of words on the righthand side are missing and may have been “HIS STONE”. Then we get a cross and IHS and underneath the following inscription. “HERE LIETH THE BODY OF MARKS PLUNKET WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE 9 BER THE 15th 1745 AGED 24. LORD HAVE MERCY UPON HIM”. We presume ‘SEPTEMBER’ is meant for ‘9BER’. ‘V’ is used for ‘U’ in this inscription. There is a fingersized hole further down the stone.
25) MINISHEEN 1777…A dome is centre of top. Full sunburst around a cross IHS and heart. Underneath a fancy scroll with ‘GLORIA ETC’ . “PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF LOUGHLEN MINISHEEN WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE FEBRUARY THE 22 A D 1777 AND IN THE 29th YEAR OF HIS AGE”. Lower down we get “ERECTED BY HIS MOTHER”. ‘F’ for ‘S’ is used.
26) McCONL 1761 & McCELLY 1744 – A very rough old stone with a cross and IHS and scroll “PRAY FOR Ye SOUL OF FELIX McCONL WHO DIED AUGUST 25th 1761 AGED 71, ALSO Fr MARGARt McCELLY WHO DIED FEB. 17.1744”.
27) KEOGHAN 1779 – A little cross at top and a short inscription scratched on this rough stone “IHS PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF CATHARINE KEOGHAN 1779”.
28) McGEE no date readable – Very old stone covered in moss, cracking and tilting backwards with full sunburst around cross IHS and heart. A plant is carved on each side of this motif. “ERECTED BY PATRICK McGEE….OF HIS FATHER…..WHO DEPd…AGd 66 Yrs….BRIDGET….” The parts of the inscription we have succeeded in reading are on the righthand side of the headstone, while the lefthand side seems to have all flaked away.
29) CAFFRY 176.. – This headstone is under a large cedar tree and less than a foot from the trunk. We failed to expose the whole inscription as the stone is wedged amongst the huge roots of this tree. “PRAY FOR Ye SOUL OF JOHN CAFFRY WHO DIED DECEMBr 176- AGED 60. ALSO FOR JUDY CAFFREY….”
30) CAFFREY 1863 – A tall upright stone with domed top which is also under the cedar tree referred to in NO 29. ‘GLORIA ETC’ around top of the dome with cross and IHS under it. “ERECTED BY JOHN CAFFREY OF LOYD IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER PETER WHO DIED AUGUST 12th 1865 AGED 57 YEARS. ALSO HIS MOTHER MARY DIED 22nd FEBRUARY 1886 AGED 70 YEARS. AND HIS BROTHER JAMES DIED 12th JANUARY 1863 AGED 18 YEARS”. R I P At bottom.
31) HUZEY 1762 – Tilts backwards with a domed top and full sunburst encircling a cross IHS and heart with a barb sticking in the top and a flower on each side of the heart. A cherub with outstretched wings on each side of this motif, and above the cherub a tulip. 17 on the left side and 80 on the right side, though there is no record of any burial after 1762. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY THOs AND OWEN HUZEY IN MEMORY OF THEIR FATHER ROBERT HUZEY WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE SEPr Ye 21ST1762 AGED 46 YEARS. (Then comes a scroll to complete the line). ALSO THEIR MOTHER MARGt HUZEY WHOSE REMAINS HIS TO LIE INTERd HERE”. This last sentence does not make sense.
32) RYAN 1872 – Tall plain modern type of stone with peaked top and in centre a cross on two steps. “LORD HAVE MERCY ON THE SOULS OF MICHAEL RYAN BALLEEK DIED 8th MAY 1872 AGED 74 YEARS. THE REVd JOHN RYAN DIED 21st JUNE 1880 AGED 44 YEARS. MARY RYAN DIED 9th OCT. 1893 AGED 73 YEARS. EDWARD RYAN DIED 7th Feb. 1895 AGED 53 YEARS. MARY RYAN DIED OCT. 1909. THOMAS RYAN DIED OCT. 1918. MORGAN RYAN DIED DEC. 1920. ERECTED BY JAMES RYAN OLDCASTLE”. At bottom RIP and Gerrard Navan.
33) FITZSPATRICK 1793 – This large stone is in three pieces. It has a full sunburst surrounding a cross IHS and heart. “ERECTd’ BY JOHN FITZSPATRICK IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER WILLIAM FITZSPATRICK WHO DEPd THIS LIFE FEBry 24th 1806 AGED -0 YEARS. (A small scroll completes this line). ALSO HIS BROTHER BRYAN WHO DEPARTd THIS LIFE JANry THE 20th 1793 AGED 22 Yrs”. The first numeral of the father’s age is unreadable and Fitzpatrick is spelt throughout with ‘ZS’.
34) RION 1731 – This is a small old rough stone with only one face smoothed and that contains the inscription. A cross and IHS at top centre. There is a dot between each word. “PRAY. FOR. Ye. SOUL. OF. MORGAN. RION. WHO. DIED. JANUARY. 27th. 1731. AGEd 48. ALSO. FOR. JUDY. RION. WHO. DIED. FEBRUARY. 15. 1741. AGE. 14. Yrs. .MARGARET. RION. DIED. APRIL. 1757. AGED. 50.”
35) LYNCH no date – The base of this stone is still sunk in the ground but the upper portion is broken off. It has a cross with expanded ends and IHS on top. “THE LORD HAVE MERCY ON THE SOUL OF JOHN LYNCH WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE…EMBER THE…..AGE 67”. This part of the inscription is on the base. The upper part has only a few letters and no words can be read.
36) QUIGLY 1752 – Small old stone half buried in the ground. “HERE LYETH THE BODY OF GARRET QUIGLY WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE OCTber 16TH 1752 ATED 26 years”.
37) No name or date – A stone with a hole through the centre of the top and under it a cross with expanded ends and under the cross the initial ‘T S’.
38) No name or date – A similar sized stone as No. 37 but with no hole or initials but it has a cross with expanded ends.
39) CONNELL 1820 – Domed top with ‘GLORIA ETC’ around top. Full sunburst encircling a cross and IHS. “ERECTEd by Jas CONNELL IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER AND MOTHER & HIS POSTERITY. ALSO HIS WIFE ANNE BROGAN DIED FEBy 8th A D 1828 AGED 50 Yrs”. At bottom “REQUIESCANT IN PACE AMEN”.
Headstones on the north side of the graveyard in rows from east to west.
The high ash tee which grows on the east side of the Plunket- Reli Boxtomb had originally three great limbs and a few years ago one of these limbs fell doing frightful destruction to the headstones in the n. e. quarter of the graveyard. Nearly all were smashed in several pieces and buried under feet of earth. We have done our best to sort out the pieces and dig them up.
1) CARTY 1812 – This headstone consists of four loose pieces smashed by the falling limb of the ashtree. There is some very good carving on this stone. ‘GLORY BE TO GOD ON HIGH’ around the top and in the centre under it a cross with cupped ends. ‘I N’ on one side of it and ‘RI’ on the other. IHS under the cross and a dove under the IHS. She has a leaf in her mouth and is carved in a frame. “ERECTd BY M….AFL CARTY IN MEMORY OF HIS BROTHER MATHEW CARTY WHO DEPd THIS LIFE JUNE THE 18th 1812 AGED 68”.
2) CARTY 1760 – This headstone is lying on the ground in two pieces. It has a small dome in a notched top. “HERE LYETH Ye BODY OF PATRICK CARTY IN Ye PARISH OF KILLSKEer WHO DEPARTED Ye LIFE DECber Ye 19. 1761 AGED 52 Yrs. ALSO HIS WIFE JUDY CARTY ALIAS CARTLAND DECd APRIL Ye 16. 1760 AGED 43 Yrs. THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY PATRICK AND JAMES THEIR SONS”.
3) CARTY 1752 – An old stone deeply sunk in the ground with cross and IHS at midtop. “HERE LIETH Ye BODY OF THOMAS CARTY WHO DIEd Ye 27th OF MAY 1752.AGED 51 YEARS. A scroll follows the last word.
4) No name or date – A very rough stone covered in moss with a cross and IHS but no inscription. We think the face of this stone has flaked off.
5) CAFSEDY 1832 – A tall stone tilting forward with a domed top. Full sunburst around a cross IHS and heart. Flowery sprays on each side RECTED BY THOs CAFSEDY OF CLONEBRANEY IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER AND DAUGHTER MARY WHO DEPd THIS LIFE 28th JUNE 1832 AGED 32 YEARS”. The first ‘s’ is carved as the oldfashioned long ‘f’.
6) GUGHERTY 1758 – This stone is under a huge box tree and is tilting forward. It has a notched top with a cross with expanded ends and IHS below it. “HERE LYETH THE BODY OF RICHd GUGHERTY WHO DIED Ye 25th OF JUNE 1758 AGED 56 Yrs. ALSO BRYAN WHO DIED Ye 11 of OCTr 1784 AGED 50 Yrs AND HIS BROTHr JAMs WHO DIED MAY Ye 8th 1772 AGED 22 Yrs. BOTH SONS TO THE ABOVE RICHd”.
7) McDONNELL 1810 – A large thick heavy tall stone broken in five pieces with a domed top and ‘GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO’ around the top of the dome and a cross and IHS under it. There is a dove on the right side of the inscription but the carving on the left side is gone. “ERECTED BY …LIP McDONNELL OF DUBLIN IN MEMORY OF HIS BELOVED MOTHER Mrs JUDITH McDONNELL WHO DIED 13th MAY 1810 AGED 56 YEARS. AND FOR HIS BELOVED FATHER Mr PATk McDONNELL DIED 20th SEPr 1840 AGED 92 YEARS. ALSO HIS BELOVED CHILDREN MARY McDONNELL DIED MARCH 24th 1828 AGED 3 YEARS AND JUDITH DIED 13th JUNE 1834 AGED 12 Yrs. ALSO THOs McDONNELL DIED JANy 8th 1833 AGED …… (This line is unreadable as it is situated where two broken edges of stone meet). DAUGHTER OF THE ABOVE Mr P. McDONNELL. Mrs CATHERINE KELLY WHO DIED MAY 22nd 1850 AGED 23 Yrs”.
8) BEGGAN 1762 – Small rough stone at head of No. 7 with cross IHS and “THE LORD HAVE MERCY ON Ye SOUL OF HUGH BEGGAN AHO DIED APRIL 15.1762 AGED 57”.
9) BEGGON 1810 – This is a large recumbent slab measuring 6 ft 8 ins long, 3 ft 2 ins wide, by 5 ins. thick. It is broken in two pieces roughly across the middle and as it is milled all around its edges we think it originally was a tabletomb. Several suitable pedestal stones are scattered about this area of the graveyard. This slab was almost completely underground till we raised it. “MAY THE GREAT GOD BE MERCIFUL TO MICHI BEGGOn WHO ERECTd THIS MONUMENT IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER HUGH BEGGON AND HIS FAMILY AUGUST 1810. ALSO HUGH BEGGAN (HERE THE NAME IS SPELT WITH AN ‘A’) JUNIOr.” At bottom ‘RESQUIESCANT IN PACE’.
10) BEGGAN 1776 – A small rough old stone at head of No. 9 with full sunburst around a cross IHS and heart. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY PETER BEGGAN FOR HIM AND HIS POSTERITY. HERE LYETH Ye BODY OF HIS FATHr JOHN BEGGAN WHO DIED APRIL THE 4th 1776 AGED 70 YRS”. Then comes a scroll.
11) MC DONNELL 1908 – This massive headstone is in three parts consisting of a large base with the inscription, a shaft with the rope design and a celtic cross which is also covered with the same design. The hatlike top is still in position. A flaming heart is in the centre of the cross and a little cross on top of it. “IN LOVING MEMORY OF MATTHEW McDONNELL N.T. KILLALLON DIED 6th MAY 1933 AGED 73 YEARS. ALSO HIS BROTHER JAMES N.T. CORTOWN DIED 29th SEPT. 1908 AGED 50 YEARS. HIS BROTHER ALICK BALGREE DIED 11th March 1933 aged 77 YEARS. HIS NEPHEW ALICK N.T. TRIM DIED 23rd DEC 1919 AGED 24 YRS.” At bottom RIP & J. BENNETT ARDBRACCAN.
12) MC DONNELL 1867 – A very massive stone with a large base on two steps. This base which contains the inscription goes up to a peak but the top was missing: however, we found it and re-erected it on top. “IN MEMORY OF JOHN McDONNELL WHO DIED NOVr 1875 AGE 55 YEARS. HIS SON LAURENCE WHO DIED MAY 1867 AGED 15 YEARS. ALSO PATRICK WHO DIED MARCH 1897 AGED 33 YEARS”. At bottom RIP and T. Callary Xdrum.
13) KEARNEY MORTUARY SURROUND 1779 – The walls are about two ft or 2½ ft high and composed of large stones likely belonging to the old Church which has disappeared. The north wall is 7 ft long, the east and west walls about 18 ft long, and the south wall 14 ft with a small entrance gap in its middle. The surround is aligned north-south and situated on top of the hill and must cover part of the Church, very likely the chancel. The tablet was inserted into the north wall facing inwards but has recently been broken into two pieces, the largest lies loose on the floor. Crest…A right hand grasping a dagger. A wreath is carved underneath. Then follows the inscription… “THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY MEFFRS (MESSRS) EDWd AND PATRICK KEARNEY TO COMMEMORATE THEIR DECEASED FATHER, MOTHER AND BROTHER AND FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR POSTERITY”. A scroll follows and at bottom ‘A D 1779’.
14) PLUNKET- RELI BOXTOMB 1581…This is the oldest tomb in Clonabreany graveyard and has suffered great damage from the enormous ashtree which grows at its east side and which down through the years has smashed the north west and east sides of this richly carved tomb. Fortunately the south side with the heraldic emblems of the families who commissioned it has survived, though in considerable danger as the tree continues to grow and press on the carved slabs. George Du Noyer visited this graveyard in 1865 and described a most horrifying representation of hell on the west panel depicting St. Michael raming the souls of the wicked down the open mouth of a dragon with his spear. The covering slab measures 6 ft 8 ins in length and 4 ft 3 ins in width. It is much thicker in its centre and only 4 ½ ins thick at its edges, so that it fitted into the open box formed by the four side panels. On the west side steps led down to the vault below where the Plunketts are buried. The east, north and west side panels are completely gone but the south has survived and measures 6 ft 2½ ins long 2ft 3½ ins in height and 4½ ins thick. It is divided into three sections…..
Left section…Castle over a bend and lion rampant with four crescents and four mullets.
Middle section…The instruments of the passion….2 dice, crown of thorns, spear, sponge, reed, 2 scourges, 3 nails, pincers, hammer.
Right section…Castle and lion rampant. Below the above on this section we discovered on digging down there was a fine carving of Pegasus the winged horse and an eagle.
The inscription on the top slab is in two lines around the outer edge and begins on the west side and proceeds via north east and south sides. It is in latin and contains many contractions and is as follows –“HIC JACET CORPUS VENERABILIS VIRI OLIVERI PLUKET GENTROSI HUIUS ECCLISIHE VERUS ET INDUBITATUS PATRONUS QUI HUIUS MORTATITATIS DIEM DANSIT ERTREMU 5 DIE IUNII ET SEPULTUS 7 EINSDEN A o 1581 ET ELIZABET DILLON EIUS UXORIS QUE OBIIT 11 DIE SEPTEBRIS Ao 1595. NOS XPOPHORUS PLUKET FILIUS ET HIERES PRAEDICTI OLIVERI ET ANA RELI FILLA DNI ET MILITUS ORELI HOC TUMUTU FIERI FECIMUS”.
The translation according to the late Dr. Philip O’Connell is as follows:
“HERE LIES THE BODY OF THE VENERABLE MAN OLIVER PLUNKETT, GENTLEMAN, FORMERLY THE TRUE AND UNDOUBTED PATRON OF THIS CHURCH, WHO CLOSED HIS LAST DAY OF THIS MORTALITY ON THE 5th DAY OF JUNE AND WAS INTERRED THE 7th OF THE SAME IN THE YEAR 1581 AND OF ELISABETH DILLON HIS WIFE WHO DIED THE 11th DAY OF SEPTEMBER 1595. WE CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT, SON AND HEIR OF THE AFORESAID OLIVER AND ANN RELI, DAUGHTER OF THE LORD AND SOLIDER O’RELI HAS CAUSED THIS TOMB TO BE MADE”.
On the south front of the edge of the above slab is a short English inscription now almost illegible which gives the sculptor’s name and reads…”WILLIAM OMMOLL EGAN WROUGHT THESE STONS”.
15) PLUNKETT 1818 – Domed top with full sunburst and ‘GLORIA ETC’ outside it, while inside we get a cross IHS and a heart with leaves forming a border around the inscription. At each side on top is a rose design. “THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY CATHERINE McBRIDE IN MEMORY OF HER BELOVED HUSBAND Mr CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT OF ROBINSTOWN WHO DEPd THIS LIFE IN JUNE 1818 AGED…..Yrs. MAY HE REST IN PEACE”.
16) WHITE 1876 – Marble ringed cross on top of a narrow small headstone with a flaming heart and a small cross in its centre and a fancy flower on the end of each limb of the cross. A scroll with “ERECTED” then the rest of the inscription “BY EDWARD WHITE IN LOVING MEMORY OF HIS FATHER CHRISTOPHER WHITE OF ROBINSTOWN SON OF MICHAEL WHITE AND ANNE PLUNKETT GRANDSON OF CHRISTOPHER PLUNKETT OF ROBINSTOWN WHO DIED 21st AUGUST 1876 AGED 78 YEARS. HIS SON MICHAEL WHO DIED 4th MARCH 1891 AGED 55 YEARS. HIS DAUGHTER ANNE KENNEDY WHO DIED 2nd MAY 1896 AGED 55 YEARS. ALSO CHRISTOPHER, RICHARD, MARGARET WHO DIED YOUNG”. At bottom ‘RIP AND FITZPATRICK AND SON GLASNEVIN’.
17) DALY 1771 – A large stone almost all underground, with a domed top and full sunburst around a cross and IHS in centre. There is a frame around the inscription. “THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY PATRICK AND PHILIP DALY IN MEMORY OF THeIR FATHER DANI DALY WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE JUNE 14th 1781 AGED 52 Yrs. ALSO THE BODY OF JOHN ‘ SON TO THE ABOVE DANI WHO DEPd MAY 20th 1771 AGED 22 Yrs”. 2 stepper stones lie nearby and we think they belong to this massive headstone.
18) RYLIE 1767 – This stone faces west and is behind No. 17. It is irregularly shaped and broken around the edge and of a very old type. Cross and IHS on top. “PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF PATRICK RYLIE WHO DIED JAN. 27. 1767 AGE 60’.
19) DALY 1863 – This must have been a massive headstone with a large base about 6 ft high with the inscription on it and a cross with a circular hole through its centre which originally stood on top of the base but now lies on the ground. Cross and IHS over the inscription. “IN MEMORY OF BRYAN DALY OF CARRICK DIED 29th AUG. 1863 AGED 58 YEARS. HIS BROTHER DAN DALY OF SUMMERBANK DIED 13th DEC. 1867 AGED 64 YEARS. WILLIAM DALY DIED 4th JULY 1869 BRYAN DALY JUNEOR DIED 8th JAN 1876. RESQUIESCANT IN PACE. ERECTED BY THEIR SONS”. (JUNEOR IS THE SPELLING INSTEAD OF JUNIOR).
20) GUERTY 1739 – An old thin stone tilting forward and considerably buried in the ground. Cross and IHS on top. “PRAY FOR Ye SOUL OF WILLIAM GUERTY WHO DIED APRIL 15th 1739 AGE 62. REQUIESCAT IN PACE”.
21) GILSENAN 1780 – Very old stone tilting to left and much buried in the ground. Notched top with cross IHS and heart within a full sunburst. Flowering plant on each side. “ERECTED BY THOMs AND MICHAEL GILSENAN IN MEMORY OF THEIR FATHER JAMs GILSENAN WHO DIED 1782 AGED 64 THEIR MOTHER MARY DIED 1782 AGd 46 JOHN GILSENAN DIED 1780 AGd 36”.
22) GILSENAN 1768 – A thin stone much buried in the ground with a cross and IHS at top, “PRAY FOR Ye SOUL OF MICHAEL GILSENAN WHO DIED MARCH Ye 10th 1768 AGED 48. RESQUIESCAT IN PACE”.
23) GILSENAN 1826 – This is a recumbent slab though it may have been originally a table tomb standing on four or six pedestal stones. Its measurements are.. 37 ins wide, 78 ins long and 5 ins thick. Full double sunburst at top centre with outside it “BEATE MORTUI QUI IN DOMINO MORTIUNTUR” inside we get a cross with cupped ends, IHS and heart. A flower on each side and further out on each side a dove lying downwards with an olive branch in her mouth. An angel kneels below the dove with arms stretched upwards and wings folded on her (?). A rectangular object is carved on each side nearer the centre but we don’t know what it represents. A row of diamonds is carved over the inscription. “MAY CELESTIAL LIGHT PERPETUALLY SHINE ON THE SOUL OF PATk GILSENAN WHO DIED AUGUST 10th 1838 AGED 80 Yrs. ALSO HIS WIFE ANN GILSENAN ALIAS MASTERSON WHO DIED JUNE 4th 1840 AGED 74 Yrs. ALSO THEIR SON MICHI GILSENAN WHO DIED FEB 25th 1826 AGd 35 Yrs”. Lower down “ERECTED BY THEIR SONS JAMES JOHN LAURENCE AND OWEN GILSENAN AS A TOKEN OF RESPECT DUE TO THEM. MAY THE REST IN PEACE AMEN”. At bottom PATT FARRELL STONECUTER. The last sentence should be ‘MAY THEY REST IN PEACE’.
24) SMITH 1859 – Tilting to left. Domed top with’ GLORIA ETC’ outside a cross and IHS. A raised frame around the whole inscription. “ERECTED BY PATRICK SMITH IN MEMORY OF HIS BELOVED FATHER PATRICK SMITH WHO DIED 13th DECEMBER 1873 AGED 71 YEARS. ALSO HIS BROTHER FARRELL DIED 13th FEBRUARY 1859 AGED 22 YEARS”. At bottom ‘RESQUIESCANT IN PACE’.
25) STAPELTON 1823 – A small thin stone domed at top with a full sunburst encircling a cross and IHS. Under the IHS is a carving of Our Lord standing on a small cloud and ascending to Heaven while two persons who had been with Him on earth are falling backwards with shock. Our Lord has a well marked halo. There is a nice floral design all around the inscription. “ERECTED BY JAMES STAPELTON IN MEMOry OF HIS BELOVd FATHER PATRICK STAPLETON DIED MARCH 30th 1823 AGED 65 YEARS”.
26) GILSENAN 1737 – A flaked bit of stone lying against a yew tree with a cross and IHS at top. “HERE LYETH Ye BODY OF OWEN GILSENAN WHO DIED MARCH Ye 17th 1737 AGEd 80”. There is another thin piece of stone of the same size and shape as the piece described above and we think it is the back of No.26. It has one word or part of a word on it…’TIRONE’.
27) GILSENAN 1750 – This great tabletomb measures 86 ins long, 43 ins wide and 4 ins thick. It used to stand on pedestal stones but now rests on a heap of ill-assorted stones. 2 large yew trees are growing on its east and west sides and their pressure recently broke this great slab across the middle so that the two pieces overlap and part of the inscription can’t be read. The slab is covered with hundreds of tiny cracks running in all directions as the result of the terrific pressure the stone was for a long time exposed to. The first part of the inscription is in Latin and the second part in English. The yew trees still remain uncut.
Latin part…HIC TACET INTERRIYUS IOHONES GILLSENAN NUPR DE WILLIAMSTOWN IN CO. MITATU MEDENSI GENEROs QUI DE HAC VITA MIGRAUIT 24 MARTII ANNo DOM. 1750. O.S. & SUE ETATIS VI XII AMABILIS NOBILIS OBIIT 95.
Translation…Here lies interred John Gillesan late of Williamstown of the family in the County of Meath who migrated from this life on 24TH March 1750 aged 95. He was both lovable and noble. O S…Old Style. Refers to a change in the calendar about that time.
Lower down we get the following English inscription…
HERE LYRTH ALSO THE BODY OF JOHN GILLSENAN JUNIOR LATE OF WILLIAMSTOWN Who DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE 19th DAY OF JUNE ANNO DOM. 1769 AGED 27 YEARS.
Lower down also in English .. HERE LYTH ALSO THE BODY OF …….TERRENCE GILLSENAN LATE OF WILLIAMSTOWN WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE ON THURSDAY THE 6 DAY OF SEPTEMBER 1770 AGD 70 YEARS.
At end of slab .. RESQUIESCANT IN PACE.
28) SMITH 175 –Tilting to left, with notched top and very badly flaked. On right side is a bird with outstretched wings but the carving on the left side is gone. Sunburst in middle top with cross and IHS in its centre. “BY…… IN MEMory OF HIS ……. GEORGE SMITH WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE JAN. Ye 175-………Yrs. ALSO ……..JUDETH S………BER Ye 21. 1760…RGT SMITH….ALSO HIS………”.
29) SMITH 1933 – This is a small narrow tabletomb made of concrete and rests on four pedestals. “IN MEMORY OF PATRICK SMITH LISNACON WHO DIED 5TH JUNE 1933 AGED 85 YEARS. BARTLE AGED 52 YEARS. BRIDGET AGED 69 Yrs. AND LAWRENCE AGED 23 Yrs”. RIP About middle of slab. Latest burial in Clonabreany.
30) SMITH 1758 – A small stone lying down under nearly a foot of earth. Cross and IHS at centre top. “PRAY FOR Ye soul of Patrick smith who deceased September the 29. 1758 aged 20”.
31) MULLOY 1753 – Cross and IHS at top of this plain square stone. “THIS STONE WAS ORDERd BY BRYAN MULLOY FOR HIS SON THOMs MULLOY DIED MARCh 1753”.
32) Name and date can’t be read – Domed top with cross IHS and heart. This stone was almost completely buried underground. There is a scroll on either side. “….STONE WAS ….ECTED BY ANTHONY ……EATING IN MEMORY ……JAMES ……”.
33) KEEGAN 1753 – A plain old stone. “HERE LYRTH THE BODIES OF THOMs AND MARY KEEGAN DIED 8BER 2d 1753. OHN KEEGAN DIED 8 BER 13. 1753. THE LINES OF ROBt KEEGAN CROSSEKILE”.
34) BAUL 1768 – A large stone tilting backwards & nearly recumbent. With a domed top and full sunburst surrounding a cross IHS and heart. A floral design on each side and a cherub. A scroll down each side. ‘GLORY BE TO GOD ON HIGH’ above the inscription. “THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY JOHN BAUL FOR HIM AND HIS POSTERITY. HIS FATHER RICHd BAUL WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE FEBRy THE 6TH 1768 AGED 39 Yrs. ALSO HIS MOTHER MARY BAUL ALIAS SMYTH WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE OCT. THE 8. 1796 AGED 83 Yrs. PRAY FOR THE SOULS OF THE ABOVE JOHN ….65 Yrs.”
We found that the lower part of this stone was broken off and buried deep in the ground. When we exposed it we found we could only read a work here and there. “JOHN ….. LIFE JULY Ye …… TIONED AND THEIR ANC…..”. At the very bottom is a large ‘A D 1782’ in relief.
35) BALL 1768 – An old stone with cross and IHS in centre top. “PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF RICHARD BALL WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE FEBRUARY Ye 6Th 1768 age 59”.
36) MASTERSON 1759 – Cross and IHS, and a scroll on either side of it. “PRAY FOR Ye SOUL OF EDMOND MASTERSON WHO DIED 9 BR Ye 1ST 1759 AGED 60. MARY GERTY DIED JUNE 24TH 1762. SIMON MASTERSON DIED APRIL 1ST 1762 AGE 28”.
37) LYNCH 1765 – Plain square stone with cross and IHS in a frame. “THIS STONE WAS ERECTED BY OWEN LYNCH FOR HIS DAUGHTr CATTY LYNCH WHO DIED MAY 6TH 1765 AGED 13 Yrs”.
38) HILAN 1754 – An irregularly shaped slab of small size with cross and IHS. “PRAY FOR Ye SOUL OF OWEn HILAN WHO DIED 8 br 15. 1754 AGE 70”.
39) FITZSIMONS 1791 – Well carved heavy stone with domed and notched top. Full sunburst, cross IHS and three nails. “HERE LYETH THE BODY OF THOMAS FITZSIMONS WHO DEPd THIS LIFE MARch THE 15TH 1791 AGED 53 Yrs. ERECTED BY HIS WIFE ANN FITZSIMONS ALIAS CUMISKEy
40) CHRIFTY 1759 – Large wellcarved stone with domed top. ‘GLORY BE TO GOD ON HIGH’ around top. Full sunburst round cross IHS and heart with two barbs and a small cross on top of the heart. A dove with an olive branch in her mouth on either side. Cross in a circle above the dove on each side “THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED BY MATHEW CHRIFTY (LONG S) IN MEMORY OF HIS FATHER JAMES CHRIFTY WHO …. 25 AUGUST 1759 AGE ….. AND OF JOHN CHRIFTY”. There is a large stone deep in the ground in front of this headstone which we failed to remove, so there may be some more of the inscription.
41) MOLLOY 1890 – This stone was covered with moss and lying down. It is a narrow modern type of stone with a plain cross on top. “IN MEMORY OF PATRICK MOLLOY WHO DIED 14 NOV. 1907. ALSO HIS FATHER DIED 1890 RIP”.
42) No name or date….. A plain stone rounded at top with a simple cross on the front and what appears to be portion of a large basin at the back
Interesting stones found in Clonabreany graveyard and nearby
1) Opposite the graveyard gate on the other side of the road is St. Kevin’s Holy Well with rags tied to the lower branches of the huge ash tree which in 1971 fell across the road and did considerable destruction to the beautifully corballed roof of the well. The kneeler stone fortunately has survived and measures 16 ins across and 11 ins wide and 4 ¾ ins thick. This stone enables a person to take up a position close to and above the water when praying or drinking. In the opposite wall is a large stone inserted in the corballing which measures 30 by 22 ins.
2) A sandstone slab measuring 29 ¾ ins by 13 ins 8 ¾ ins thick has been built into the wall immediately inside the entrance gate into the graveyard which has three rubbed-on crosses (2 already formed and 1 in the process of being made). When I first noticed this stone the crosses were easily seen but now are very indistinct. Only a couple of burials have taken place in Clonabreany during this century so that the number of people visiting the graveyard nowadays and rubbing on a cross with a prayer must be very few.
3) In the N W corner inside the circular path is a large stone roughly square measuring 3 ½ by 4 ft and about 8 ins thick. It stands upright and appears to have been erected here as there is a packing of small stones around the base. One face looks S E and the other N W. The S E face is half covered with cupmarks. There are some 40 of them and one near the centre has a ring around it (cup and circle). The other half of the S E face is occupied by a shallow basin. There is a cup on the centre of the top rim and one in the centre of the N W face with a little cup in its centre. There are other cups under ground level. When I found this stone in 1962 it was completely hidden under ivy and a large stump of an old tree trunk.
4) A large stone also at the N W corner of the graveyard but on the outer edge of the footpath which is balanced on some other stones and measures 76 ½ ins by 48 ins and 12 ins thick. Recently it seems to have fallen off the stones it was balanced on as people have started entering the graveyard over the wire fence at this point and jumping down on the big horizontal stone and displaced it. Underneath are two large shallow basins 25 ins across. A setting of stones run from this stone across the footpath to No.3 (the cupmark stone) but they are only visible when the path has been cleaned of weeds.
5) There are two (or possibly three) similar large flat stones built into the neighbouring wall and all might be part of some pre-historic monument.
6) A broken piece of stone measuring 30 ins by 19 ins with 1 cupmark 3 ¾ ins across.
7) A holed stone (No. 37 in the list of headstones) on the south side of the graveyard.
8) Two pieces of stones which fit together and form part of a large cross inscribed slab found separately in 1974 and 1975.
9) A plain stone with domed top (No. 42 in the list of headstones) on the north side of the graveyard with a simple cross on one side and part of a shallow basin on the other side. It is used as a headstone but has no inscription.
10) The antiquarian journal of year 1972 describes a find by Colonel Bindon Blood of Bobsville …’ Portion of a cross slab found on the surface of the disused cemetery of Clonabreany. One face is unworked but on the other a design has been carved which consists of the arm of a cross with a border decorated with a curvilinear key-pattern’ Mr. Kenny and I have found no bits of cross with this design.
11) In Crawford’s descriptive list of early cross slabs and pillars in JRSAI (1913) page 328 there is a short entry “Clonabreany Bobsville sel5 in the centre of the old graveyard beside the road, there is a slab 2 ft 9 ins long by 1 ft wide by 5 ins thick which bears a ringed cross potent of four lines having a point added below the base. There are some remains of an inscription but the surface is greatly worn”.
A foot note says that it was Macalister who told Crawford about this stone. In Sept. 1975 Mr. Kenny found this stone.
12) In Oct. 1975 Mr. Kenny also found a large cross inscribed slab with the following measurements ….. 55 ins long by 22 ins wide and 4 ins thick with ‘OR’ on the upper left quarter and ‘DO’ on the upper right quarter and what we think is ‘SON’ in the lower left quarter and ‘SUI’ in the lower right quarter & ‘DU……’below it.
13) On the day in Nov. 1975 on which we finished recording the headstones of Clonabreany I asked Mr. Kenny to turn the big slab lying near the Plunket-Reli Boxtomb before we left and it turned out to be another cross inscribed slab which measures 43 ½ ins long by 21 ins wide and 10 ins thick. It had ‘OR’ on left upper quarter, ‘DO’ on right upper quarter, blank O M’ on lower left quarter and ‘GA’ on right lower quarter. This stone and carving is almost perfect, except for the blank before OM.
14) In 1962 I found a piece of stone which measures 24 ins by 18 ins and 5 ins thick with a cross inscribed on it. It is an incised ringed cross of four lines with cupped ends. An inscription runs along the slab to the right of the cross from bottom to top and reads ‘OR DO M…’ The second letter of the name might be O or E but the rest of the name is missing.
15) An upright pillar stone was found by me in 1963 3 ½ ft high and 10 ins wide with two very distinct cupmarks of small size at its narrow top and two other cupmarks above them which are bigger and more distinct. I found another stone 1 ½ ft long which seemed to be part of this stone. They were in a ditch which runs round the west and north sides of the graveyard. It has since been suggested to me that these are parts of a broken gatepost.
16) A taulike cross was found by me in a hole in the big ash tree that grows beside the Plunket-Reli Boxtomb. The stem is 5 ½ ins long and the crossbar 14 ins but Miss Prendergast (National Museum) thought it had an upright limb which got broken off making it look like a Tau Cross.
17) The socket of a cross measuring 22 ½ ins by 20 ¾ ins while the hole for the cross in the centre measures 7 ins by 5 ¾ ins and 7 ins deep. We found no cross to fit this rough base but in the neighbourhood there are several similar socket stones by the roadside some with bits of crosses still in them.
18) A broken piece of stone 29 ins wide by 15 ins deep and less then 2 ins thick with a small cross at the middle of the top with expanded ends and four tiny circles within the limbs to represent a ringed cross. Underneath we get what we take to be a chalice ornamated all over with tiny dots or circles. Underneath this is the inscription ‘IN THIS SIGN THOU SHALT CONQUER’ and behind the inscription what we take to be the fish symbol. Mr. MI. Kenny found this stone on the top of the hill in the autumn of 1975 almost completely buried underground.
19) Several stones carved to form parts of small Church windows still survive scattered about the Graveyard.
20) The bowl of a clay pipe with ‘PARNELL’ on it was found about a foot under ground and lent to the Parnell exhibition in Navan Library.