Graves disrespected at old Gorey burial site

By Dan Walsh

Almost complete desecration of an ancient family vault and daubing with blue paint on adjacent headstones at the old Clonattin graveyard in Gorey has been condemned by all decent minded people in the community.

Destruction at Clonattin, which is located deep in farmland close to the town, is nothing new; it is frequently a venue for drinking parties and most recently a number of gravestones have been sprayed with blue paint!

Amongst those who have condemned this anti-social activity is the Cathaoirleach of Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District, Cllr Joe Sullivan, who told; “This is a place of historical significance and the final resting place of generations of Gorey citizens and was once the parish church for the district.”

A scene of desecration at the old graveyard at Clonattin, just outside Gorey with Tara Hill in the background.

Old Clonattin graveyard is cared for by locals with an historical and community interest who keep an eye on it and Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal Council have also aided with clean-up and general maintenance.  

Clonattin and Ramsfort are associated with the Ram family and Bishop Ram who “settled in Gorey and received large land grants in the north of Wexford, built a church at Market Square, Gorey, in 1610.” It is of high importance as an ancient antiquity.

Made famous by the late Michael Fitzpatrick’s book Clonattin in the Fields (pub. 1986), Clonattin graveyard dates from the 6th century and remains the final resting place of many loved ones close to families still living in and around Gorey.

Clonattin graveyard contains a small ecclesiastical structure, in the Norman style of architecture, supposed to have been a cell to the abbey of Ferns, founded by St. Edan, and it is supposed that the name of the place may be a modification on Cluain Edan, signifying “the retreat or cell of Edan.” Dr. Thomas Ram, Bishop of Ferns and Leighlin, was interred in the old church of Gorey, where is an altar tomb to his memory with a very curious inscription written by himself. (Lewis Topographical Directory, pub. 1837).

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