Posted by Mowl:
Some lovely photographs taken and captioned by Eamo, posted on Politicalworld.org
This is a view of Loughlinstown Hospital from the rear. That is where you will find one of the almost forgotten Cemeteries which are the resting place of un-named and un-numbered victims of the famine as well as the many souls who died in the poor-house which was in the building now occupied by the hospital. The paupers cemetery is not signposted but is easily accessed by driving into the carpark at the rear of the hospital and looking out for a grassy path winding away into blackberry bushes and trees.
Follow that way and after a short walk it opens onto a beautiful glade, you will almost certainly be the only living soul there but the place is so peaceful that it feels comfortable safe and warm.
The cemetery is well cared for but is thankfully not manicured until soulless. It is a sheltered open empty grassy space.
On a similar topic: recently, the organisation behind the community association for Ballyfermot neighbourhood has started asking questions as to who it was in Dublin County Council who gave the go-ahead for the unceremonious removal of numerous hundreds of year-old graves at the site of the former Ballyfermot Castle and cemetery, on Le Fanu Road out in Ballyfermot west, now long gone.
It’s said locally that the castle, which dated back to the seventeenth century, and its cemetery close by were deliberately allowed to fall into ruin, and it was also said by those apparently in the know that the construction of a more modern building would serve the commercial interests of the area far better. A pub stands on the spot where once stood a beautiful stone castle, the old heart of the neighbourhood.
So they destroyed the castle and gave us a pub.
I recall as a child many stories of grave-robbers and other scavengers associated with the site at the cemetery, but I also remember playing on the enormous burial mound when the gravestones were still standing. All were in a severely dilapidated condition, and some had caved in completely. We’d often wonder as little kids if we dug a bit would we find bones and skulls? Maybe even buried treasure?
It was a beautiful spot, many headstones read dates back to the early eighteenth and late seventeenth century, but as time went on it became a fly-tipping spot, and everybody dumped their household cráp there. Old prams, mattresses, cookers, and what have you. A short few years later, the entire area was bulldozed. No removal of remains, no ceremony, no remembrance stone. Just an industrial excavation of the whole site. Nobody now knows where the wasted remains were taken after bulldozing, or what happened to them, but it was all replaced with the estate now present as Cloverhill. A rough enough place for any child who was reared there throughout the seventies and eighties. A miserable sprawl of concrete/metal houses that looked like they might blow over in a strong gale. No amenities, no central area to orientate the locals and give a neighbourhood feeling. Most if not all of those original houses were replaced since, because they were built to such appalling standards, and the people were herded in like sheep before the project was even completed. Not many years later they’d all be marched back out again when the entire project was demolished to build the sturdier houses which stand there now.
I also remember playing on the building site of Cloverhill. It was an adventure playground for us, traipsing through the brick skeletons of the houses as they were being constructed, but the skeletons and dust of the former occupants didn’t seem to have any meaning for either the local church or the county council. Any sign of the cemetery was erased from existence.
In a way, the photo of the mass grave above at Loughlinstown gives me a similiar chill of disgust at our inelegance, savagery, and in particular, the church’s hypocritical lack of respect for its precious flock. That so many bodies from the famine are remembered by just one stone out in the cemetery in Loughlinstown, and that the only name on the stone is the Sister who apparently dedicated it, reminds me of the same self-inflatable and triple-faced church which did so little to protect the remains of those buried next to Ballyfermot Castle. In fact, there is no marker there at all to indicate that they were ever buried there. Only a social welfare office.
So they took away the graveyard and gave us a dole office.
Where once was a castle, a place of much local history and pride, there’s a pub. Where once was a cemetery, of similiar historical value and pride, is now a labour exchange.
There’s still a long way to go in having the pertinent questions about the cemetery at Ballyfermot answered by either the church or the county council, and as usual one suspects no-one will be held accountable. One suspects that somebody somewhere made a suitcase full of used cash from it, and that whatever chances there are of having any kind of inquiry these days would instead be arranged in such a way as to line the pockets of another generation of the same legal elite, rather than show some goddamned respect to the people of the area and their historical legacy.
The site of the cemetery as it stands now:
An older map of the area as it was before Cloverhill was constructed:
Mowl 29th October 2013