By Dan Walsh at Tara Hill
Kilcavan has Tara Hill as a backdrop with wonderful views towards Arklow and Croghan countryside and the view has been improved with the official opening of Kilcavan Garden today.
Members of Tara Hill Community Development Association identified a piece of waste land adjoining the old graveyard, they hatched a plan, rolled up their sleeves and created a wonderful natural park with seats, some poetry, an historical guide board, standing stones and coming soon – a compass!
Kilcavan Garden was officially opened when Kathleen Keyes cut the ribbon on behalf of her parents, Tom and Anne, who are celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary this week. The blessing was accompanied by a short prayer delivered by Rev. Roger O’Neill, C.C. Gorey.
Saint Caemhan or Kevin or Cavan, (associated with Clonmacnoise), as the name is variously spelt is the Patron Saint of Tara Hill and the site of the old church founded by him is situated at Kilcavan at the north side of the hill (253m or 830ft high) under a cliff by the road.
According to Kevin Spencer in the publication ‘Tara Hill – St. Kevin’s Centenary Celebrations 1987, Tara Hill School-Chapel opened on June 17 1888 and he wrote; “Tara Hill district was without a public place of worship for upwards on 100 years.”
In the same publication, Brian J. Cantwell, who compiled gravestone inscriptions, in July 1979, wrote that “the old graveyard, still in use, is situated on the north side of Tara Hill, approximately four miles from Gorey, not to be confused with Kilcavan, near Wellingtonbridge.
The oldest grave on record belongs to Matthew Brein (that’s the spelling?) who died in 1748 aged 30 years!
In the same publication, a short article by Jack Reid informed readers that “In 1969 when it became apparent that old Kilcavan was overcrowded and no more plots were available, it was decided to purchase a plot of ground adjoining.”
Consequently, the boundary ditch was removed merging the old cemetery with the new ground. A boundary wall of concrete blocks was built and a new entrance opened.