Access to the graveyard is signposted from the main Inistioge to New Ross road. The way down the boreen becomes very narrow and unpromising so perseverance is necessary. Another, almost missable sign points apparently in the direction of very large and very empty field; again perseverance is necessary; a long uphill walk across the field gradually reveals the graveyard and ruined church coming into view......
The names of the people carved on the memorials here are:-
Barron, Brennan, Browner, Byrne, Callaghan, Carty, Cashin, Cleary, Cosgrave, Culleton, Darge, Doyle, Flood, French, Grant, Hutcheson, Hutchison, Joise, Kavanagh, Keeffe, Kelly, Knox, Lavin, Maher, Millett, Murphy, Mylott, O'Carroll, Pendergast, Roche Synott, Tobitey, White and Wilmott. One stone, now almost illegible is marked with the name Sylvester Whe.....but more on this stone below.
Places marked on the memorials are:-
America, Ballilogue, Ballycommon, Ballygub, Ballyinduff, Cappa, Cloen, Clone, Cluen, Coolnamuck, Coolraney, Coolsilla, Fidown, Great Island, Inistioge, Iinstiogue, Kilcoss, Killeen, Kilmacshane, Kilross, Lenaught, Lower Cluen, New Ross, Oldcourt, Pleaberstown, Russelstown, Thomastown and Whitechurch.
The identifiable masons who carved the stones are:-
Colles of Kilkenny, Mullen of Kilkenny, Power of Ross (New Ross, Wexford)), and Walsh of Carlow. It is interesting to note that people are going outside the county to get their headstones carved; this may reflect the position of the graveyard en route as it were to New Ross but it may also reflect where people were going to get their shopping or an area they they had a reason to visit. Carlow is quite a distance from here and seems a very long journey to make just to order a headstone.
One unsigned stone has been identified by Carrigan as the work of Darby O'Brien of Rathpatrick from the south of county Kilkenny, near Waterford. This headstone he describes as carved from granite, with a bordure all around and a large plain cross on the front. Carrigan describes it as badly carved and was unable to read the full inscription when he visited this graveyard over a hundred years ago. This headstone is now very corroded and still difficult to read but is inscribed "Here lieth ye body of Sylvester Whe........" Nothing more is legible. Another source read the stone as "Here lieth ye body of Silvester (sic) Wh(it)e" (Old Kilkenny Review 1956/57. Clonamery Church by J. J. Hughes). He says the name is White but that two of the letters which were in high relief had been sealed off. There are certainly other headstones for the family of White in this graveyard but unhelpfully this particular old headstone has almost certainly been moved to its current position within the shelter of one of the church walls. I am sure this has been done for the protection of the stone but the original position of any headstone is important since people were often buried next to other family members. One of the other White headstones dates back to 1829; this is for White of Cappa, parish of Inistioge. There might well be a connection but since the older stone has been moved it is now impossible to tell unless documentary evidence of a connection comes to light. Sylvester, though, is a very unusual name and offers hope of identification. Darby O'Brien had a distinctive if vernacular style and worked as a stone carver in the first quarter of the 18th century. It is very interesting that he was operating at Clonamery: not an easy journey from Rathpatrick and a long way for a carved stone to be hauled by a donkey and cart or indeed a long journey for Darby O'Brien to make, even if the stone to be carved was available locally. Judging by other headstones carved by Darby O'Brien, Sylvester Whe.... is unlikely to be a very prominent citizen but probably someone of fairly humble origins.
|Darby O'Brien's stone to Sylvester Whe...........|