Posts Tagged ‘hill of tara’

Donnelly (1)

Kennedy (2)

Sheridan (3)

Read Full Post »


One of the things that I noticed in Ireland last time I visited was that tombstones frequently list the deceased’s home – much more frequently than I see on tombstones in the U.S. I posted last week about Charles Bird, late of Bective House, a local estate.

Booth (1)

Proudstown is nearby in County Meath. From what I can tell, the racecourse that was known as Proudstown Park is actually in Navan, but Proudstown was the name of the railway stop that used to service that area. My understanding is that Proudstown might not be an official town, but it refers to a neighborhood or area. Anyone with better knowledge is welcome to help me out with this.


There is a Killeen Road about 4 kilometers away from the Hill of Tara.

What I found most interesting about the place names on Irish tombstones is that they are not just cities, but neighborhoods, regions, and even streets.

Read Full Post »

Booth (2)

Connelly (1)

On this trip to Ireland, I got to revisit the little cemetery at the visitor center on the Hill of Tara.


Read Full Post »

Mongey Monument on Hill of Tara


The symbol on this tombstone is the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ – a flaming heart within a crown of thorns and topped with a cross. Some representations also include a halo of divine light, blood drops, or a lance wound like the one that Christ received in his side during the crucifixion. There is an associated Roman Catholic devotion.

Read Full Post »


The notation “late of Bective House” caught my eye and I decided to do a little more research. I was able to find the obituary for Charles “Charlie” Bird III. Bective House is a large estate in County Meath that Bird’s father purchased in 1923 just after the Irish Civil War. American by birth, the elder Bird traveled to Ireland to hunt, and eventually he purchased the estate, which remained in the family until 1960. The younger Bird continued in his father’s footsteps, also engaging in hunting as well as horse-racing. Bird passed away in the United States, but he now lies buried in the cemetery on the Hill of Tara.

Read Full Post »

O'Reilly Monument on Hill of Tara

On tombstones, shamrocks symbolize Irish origin or ancestry.

Shamrock detail on tombstone at Glendalough

Read Full Post »

This week, I paid our deposit for Mike and I to travel to Ireland in 2013 with our favorite Irish band, FinTan. So Ireland is on my mind right now, and I decided to go back through some of my photos from the 2009 trip (also with the band).

This photo from Glendalough has been on my work computer desktop for more than a year. If you look carefully through the remains of the gate, you can see a grave marker topped with a Celtic cross in the distance.

Gate to Glendalough

These three tombstones have stood at Glendalough for over a century.


This detail photograph of a Celtic cross is probably one of my favorites from the trip.

Cross detail on tombstone at Glendalough

This moss-covered sarcophagus monument is in the cemetery that sits just below the crest of the Hill of Tara.

Monument in front of Visitors' Center on Hill of Tara

Of course, not all of the photos I took of memorials were outdoors. This one was in the catacombs of Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin.


This statue is part of a memorial in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.

Read Full Post »

You might have wondered where the Celtic crosses were in my previous post about the Hill of Tara. Well, the truth is, I withheld the Celtic crosses because I knew I had a more photos than I needed for one post and I do enjoy posting Celtic crosses every Friday. But I was holding back on you, because the Celtic cross monuments on the Hill of Tara are absolutely stunning.

I can’t find any information on this cross anywhere:
Celtic Cross on HIll of Tara

It’s not in the cemetery proper; it stands by itself inside a little iron fence, and I can’t find any explanation of what it marks.

The O’Reilly monument is just how I imagined an Irish tombstone should look: a Celtic cross with shamrocks in the lobes of the cross.
O'Reilly Monument on Hill of Tara

The Parker tombstone is older and much more difficult to decipher. After a significant amount of time with my digital photograph and a lot of zoom, my reading is:

Erected to the memory of Thomas and Mary Parker who died prior to the year 1879 and their son Patrick Parker who departed this life June 8, 1879, aged 37? years.

My guess from the text is that Patrick (or his family) placed this tombstone here well after his parents’ deaths – makes me wonder if Thomas and Mary are even buried on the Hill.

Tombstone on Hill of Tara, Ireland

This was in front of the old church, sort of off by itself. I’m not sure if there is anything significant about it yet. Cross is on the top, a little hard to see from this angle:
Monument in front of Visitors' Center on Hill of Tara

I’m not sure I have words for the beauty of Dessie Maguire’s monument, the white knotworked cross rising against the stormy sky and framed by the naked tree branches.
Maguire Tombstone on the Hill of Tara

Read Full Post »

Hill of Tara
For today’s tour of cemeteries, let’s go somewhere a little different…like Ireland. I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland last year, and my travels took me to the Hill of Tara.
Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara is the legendary seat of the High King of Ireland and figures prominently into much of Irish lore and history. Some scholars theorize that the Hill of Tara was a capital for the pre-Celtic people of Ireland, and it was later the place where the High Kings were crowned on the Stone of Destiny.
Stone of Destiny
Legend states that St. Patrick lit a fire on the nearby Hill of Slaine to symbolize the light of Christianity coming to Ireland, which caused the High King Laoghaire to have him brought to Tara to explain himself. Patrick lit his fire one day before the King would have lit a bonfire to celebrate the arrival of spring, and so he essentially was usurping the King’s authority. According to the tale spun by our tour guide, Patrick so impressed the King as they debated religion that he was given leave to preach to the Irish without royal hindrance. (Our tour guide was a very good storyteller.)
St. Patrick statue on the Hill of Tara
Whatever Tara’s actual use in ancient and medieval times, it is symbolically important to the Irish, and was used as a camp in 1798 by United Irishmen rebelling against the English. In 1843, Daniel O’Connell, a member of the Irish Parliament, held a demonstration there to protest the Act of Union (formally uniting Great Britain and Ireland) and urge its repeal.

Hill of Tara Visitors' Center
And what has all this to do with cemeteries? The Visitors’ Centre is a converted church, and it has a small, still active churchyard. Information at the site indicates the church was built in 1822, but the original church dates back to Hospitallers of St. John in approximately 1212 AD.

Tombstones on Hill of Tara
This is something I saw more than once in Ireland. The church could be in absolute ruins, but there would be relatively recent burials in the church graveyard.

Mongey Monument on Hill of Tara

I thought this tombstone was one of the most interesting:
O'Keeffe Tombstone on Hill of Tara

Here on this windy, sometimes even harsh, hillside, generations of Irish families are still adding their names to monuments and being buried where millions of tourists will pass by before the winds and rains obliterate their names from the rock. I wonder whether they consider that, thinking that their names may be carried further in death in tourists’ photos than they themselves traveled in life.

Hill of Tara

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: