Cemeteries

Loughmore cemetery developed around the old pre-Reformation Abbey Church.  The cemetery has been expanded on two occasions in modern times.

 

The cemetery in Templeree likewise developed around the old church there.  There is also a small cemetery in Killahara which was associated with the former Church of Ireland church.

 

An examination of gravestones in Loughmore yields interesting insights into life and death in former times.  The earliest gravestones date back to 1643 and 1644.  This is over three decades prior the enactment of the 1679 penal law forbidding burials in suppressed abbeys unless these were used for service by the Established Church.

 

During the succeeding century there are only two dated headstones in Loughmore cemetery.  Both belonged to gentry families who could afford to ignore the law.

 

With the repeal of the 1679 law in 1824, Catholics could be buried in suppressed abbeys provided written permission was procured from the Church of Ireland minister.

 

It is clear that the great majority of people were buried in unmarked graves until relatively recent times.  During the period 1798-1824 over 1,460 people died in Loughmore.  Only 7% of these are named on tombstones.  While tombstone inscriptions became more frequent thereafter, the great majority of poor people in the past lived and died leaving no trace other than the single lines in parish registers recording their baptisms and marriages.