CULMULLEN CHURCH AND GRAVEYARD, CO. MEATH
TOMBSTONES AND INSCRIPTIONS
Recorded by Dr.Beryl F. E. Moore
CULMULLEN GRAVEYARD – Very extensive and very neglected. Only a small portion still has tombstones in it. History says this Church and Cemetery suffered very badly during the Rebellion of 1641, and it is only since that time that burials have taken place within the Church itself eg. the Killy-Kelly tombs.
NOTES ON CULMULLEN GRAVEYARD (1938) – By the late Rev. Hamlet McClenaghan in Rioch na Midhe (1955). There is one interesting old stone to the family of McNally…With dates 1707 & 1739. There are 2 inscriptions in Irish on it. I give the inscriptions in Roman characters first as they stand in defective Irish spelling, then in standard Irish Orthography, and lastly the English translation:-
“O Chriost, Dean Trocire craine na Muirif Amen”
“O Chriost, Dean Trecaire orainne na Mairbh, Amen”
(O Christ have mercy on us…The Dead, Amen).
Here follows an English inscription thus:-
“Here lyeth the body of John McNally, who decesed February. Ye 6th. 1707, and his son Laurence McAnally who decessed December. Ye 27th. 1730. Anno Dom. 1739.”
Then follows another inscription in Irish Thus:- “Ar Gradh de o gach Dleune do leaefas so agus eastus e Paidior De gheaeirc do hhouail do chum goime: Louide trocire ann Tighorna ar ann na muntire uanis les an gloch so.”
Amended version, by Mr. Charles McNeill (brother of Prof. Eoin McNeill, NUI.):-
Ar Gradh de o gach duine do leighfeas so agus eistfeas E, Paider do dheire do do Ghabhail do chum go mba Luaithide trocaire an tighearna Ar anaim na muintire Bhaineas leis an Geloich so.”
(“ For the Love of God (is requested) of every one that shall read this and shall hear it of (his or her) charity to say a prayer in order that the Mercy of the Lord on the souls of the people connected with this stone may be hastened.”)
Mr. McNeill considers it unusual in that the appeal for prayers is addressed to those who can read and those who cannot read. The very same distinction is made in the Irish inscription on the stone of Rory Boy McMahon, dated 1575, in Kilmore Graveyard a few miles away.
In the west end of the Old Church are 2 tombs erected by Thos. Mac Gauran to Ellen Killy 1750 and Mary Kelly 1707. The letter “N” on these stones (& several others) is placed sideways, therefore reading as an “Z”. Likely the Monumental Mason was a native Irish speaker or Illiterate, but in any case he could not read English. Ellen’s inscription reads “Here Lyeth Ye Body of Ellez Killy who desparted this life DBR. 17. 1750 aged 77 years. Erected by Thos. Macgauran”. We do not know if “Killy” is another misprint for “Kelly” on Ellen’s tomb.
Tombstones in Culmullen graveyard
MC ANALLY 1707-1730 – See description above
BOWLAND MA OF CARRINPOLLARD 1727
WARD FAMILY 1744
FITZPATRICK JAMES OF QUEEN ST. DUBLIN 1798
NOTINGHAM ANDREW 1759 – This stone was erected by his son Laurence.
KILLY ELLEN 1750 – “Here Lyeth Ye Body of Ellez Killy who desparted this life DBR. 17. 1750 aged 77 years. Erected by Thos. Mac Gauran
KELLY MARY 1707 – Erected by Thos. Mac Gauran
FARRELL ANTHONY 1840 – Anthony Farrell erected a stone to his Father Anthony Farrell of Culmullen dated 1840
EVERARD 1875 AND 1880.
BOWLAND OF JERVIS ST. DUBLIN 1802 – erected a stone to his Father A Farmer of Culmullen dated 1802.
DARCY WM. 1846 – This tomb is not inside the old Church as at present placed, as it is beyond the West End; but it is described by several authorities as “An Alter Tomb”.
It consists of large heavy slab erected on 6 pillar-stones about 1 ½ ft. high. Perhaps this type of tomb used to be called “an Alter Tomb” 150 years ago. Darcy and his family were Roman Catholics and they rented Culmullen House for many years and improved the property considerably.
The Memorials of the dead record this tomb fully in Vol V11, page 646 Year 1907.
A favourite motiffe is a cross above a Chalice and Wafer. There are several in the Graveyard one would expect them to have been erected to priests, but I failed to find any inscriptions on them referring to priests. Cogan tells us of many priests buried in this Graveyard, in his “History of the Diocese of Meath”.
Cogan say’s “Culmullen Graveyard is extensive, the tombs numerous, the weeds long, the Alder-Trees which grow here in profusion add to the total desolution of the place, and cannot fail to awaken melancoly remembrances”.
The Editor of “The Memorials of the Dead” says…“Culmullen is another instance of our neglected Irish Graveyards”.