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Caldragh Cemetery


Cemetery Records


Caldragh Cemetery on Boa Island had only seven gravestones but many rough marker stones from 20 to 40 cms high. This is a remarkably small number of gravestones considering that the island once had over six hundred people living on it. Why is this so?

There are a small number of gravestones scattered around the island which might have come from this graveyard and it is a mystery why this has happened. The most likely answer why there are so few is that the people did not feel that they needed gravestones. Everyone on the island knew where each family buried and rough marker stones sufficed to guide those who had to dig the next grave. In modern times this graveyard was given a boundary by the erection of an ironwork fence. In the past it would have been of much greater extent. The mysterious Boa Island figures of thousands of years ago look impassively over the following gravestones.

In loving memory of William Snow, Ardshankill, who died 10th Feb 1967 aged 81 years. Also his wife Sarah who died 24th March 1954 aged 57 years R. I. P.

[A flat gravestone].
Erected by John McGolrick in memory of his father Edward McGolrick who departed this life September 20th 1813 aged 70 years. Also his mother Jane Mc Golrick who died March 27th 18015 [1815] aged 66 years. Also his brother [Felix?] who died June 12th 1802 aged 21 years. Also for his posterity.

[A Maguire coat of arms]
Here lies ye body of John Maguire who died Feb -- 176- aged 45 years. Erected by his son John.

A concrete headstone with "FLANAGAN" on it.

[Beside the above]
Pray for the soul. Rose Flanagan died 2nd February 1940 aged 82 years. Also her son James Flanagan died 3rd March 1944 aged 66 years. Also her daughter Mary A. Flanagan died 3rd April 1956 aged 70 years. Also her sister Ellen Monaghan died 39th September 1950 aged 86 years.

I. H. S. Here lies the body of Laurence McGeo who departed this life October -- 1810 aged 30 years.

Pray for Patrick Kerrigan who died 11th Feb 1966. Also his wife Mary who died 22nd Nov 1972. R. I. P.

Danny Thompson died 9th of March 198 aged 57 years.

While repairs were being carried out on the old Protestant school on Boa Island a headstone was discovered. The inscription is as follows:-

Erected by Hugh Chittick
In Memory of his daughter Mary Chittick
Who departed this life 15th April 1809 aged 15 years.

Where the stone was found could not have been a burial place as there was little or no soil in which to bury anyone. The only plausable answer is that the stone was carved on Boa Island and for some reason it was never erected. The Chittick name is one of the oldest associated with the island other than native Irish names.

A similar sized headstone unexpectedly came to light when we looked around the walls of an old house belonging to people called McCabe. This headstone reads:-

I. H. S.
Here lyeth the body of Terence McCabe who depd this life 27th June 1794 aged 76 years. Also his wife Anne McCabe who depd this life December 1790 aged 74 years.

Why is this stone in the ruins of a house of a McCabe family now died out? Was it to have been erected and then forgotten about? Is it possible to "forget" a headstone? Was it retrieved from the field still called the "Graveyard field" where no gravestone indicates that it was used for that purpose? Are their other stones hidden in the ruins of the houses?

Caldragh Cemetery Seamus Heaney, Poet,
"January God"

Contributed by John B Cunningham

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