|Riverside walk to access Kells Priory|
The house in Bodmin sent over four monks:-
Reginald de Aclond, Hugh de Rous, Alured and Algar. The first three of these eventually became Priors of the foundation at Kells. Hugh de Rous died in 1218 and was buried in the centre of the Priory Church in a splendid marble monument which has long since disappeared.
Both Alured and Algar were sent to another new foundation at nearby Inistioge Priory whose patron and founder was Thomas fitz Anthony and whose name is commemorated to this day, in English,by the town of Thomastown, known in Irish as Baile Mhic Anntain.
The Priory of Kells was suppressed and surrendered to the crown forces of Henry VIII on March 8th 1540. It remains one of the most impressive ruins in Ireland.
Inside the ruins are many medieval, but uninscribed, ledger slabs but only five medieval monuments with inscriptions. People who were benefactors of the Priory would have been given the right of burial there. These are:-
1. Hic Jacet Stephanus Fil d Hugonis Clerici (Here lies Stephen son of Hugh le Clerc or Hugh the Cleric).
2. Hic Jacet Johanna Relicta Hugonis Clerici Cuius hic Propiti(e)tur (Here lies Johanna, widow of Hugh le Clerc or Hugh the Cleric).
3. Fragment of a ledger slab - (Hic Jacet)..........Fil Hugonis Cl(er)ci (Here lies) ...son of Hugh le Clerc or Hugh the Cleric).
4. Hic Jacet Dns Thomas Lahe Quondam Istius Loci Obiit......... (Here lies Sir Thomas Lahe, sometime Prior of this Priory who died.......)
5. Hic Jacet Ricardus Comerford (Qui) Quondam Prior Exstitit Istius Domi. ( Here lies Richard Comerford sometime Prior of this Priory. This memorial was not found by Canon Carrigan in his History of the Diocese of Ossory (1905) but recorded by him as existing at an earlier stage.
|View of the Priory ruins from the river bank|
The "modern" Priory graveyard is situated outside the north west enclosing walls of the Priory. It appears to contain very few memorials (memorials 1-14) but there must be many, many unmarked burials; some are recorded by marker stones but even these can not account for where the population of Kells was buried. We must assume that most are in unmarked graves; forever unknown and unlocated. The nave of the ruined church was used for burials but there is only one "modern" memorial in the ruin itself. Some stones are now just inside the Priory curtain wall (memorials 15-23) but these appear to have been moved at sometime in the past.
|Stone No 21 to William Ryan dated 1810|
Bernie and I surveyed the "modern" graveyard in September 2012 and June 2016. The graveyard was considerably overgrown in 2012 making access to the memorials and transcribing extremely difficult. The graveyard had been cleared in June 2016 which enabled us to complete the transcriptions. As you will see there are only 25 memorials in total and we have decided to put them up here in their entirety.
|Sometimes very difficult work but this stone is decorated with a beautiful sunburst design and IHS|
There are some very early and decorative stones from the 18th century dating from as early as 1722, 1737, 1765, 1779, 1783 and 1790. The 19th century stones, some finely carved and decorated date from 1801, 1805, 1810, 1811, 1819, 1823, 1827, 1839 and 1848. This is a Catholic graveyard.
|Very eroded stone No 5 erected by John Larrissy 1827|
Outer graveyard ( Stones 1-14)
Stones lying flat inside entrance gate on north west side of Priory (15-23)
Stones further inside the Priory (24-25)
- Erected by Mary Morrissey in memory of her father Thomas Darcy who died March 29th 1889 aged 58 years. Also her brother James died March 29th 1912 aged 36 years and her beloved mother who died Feb 23rd 1913 aged 76 and her sister who died young. RIP. This was once an upright Latin cross with the inscription on the base which is now overturned. There is now no sign of the cross. Base signed by Gargan, Kilkenny.
- Small upright. Here lyes ye body of Cornelius Cleer decsd (deceased) December 1737. Catherine Cleer his wife decsd 1739. Erected by their son Peter Cleer. Lovely decoration of 2 cherubs, with a sunburst and a cross in circle. At the base are two hourglasses on either side of a skull with teeth.
- Upright. Erected by Catherine Murphy of Jerpoint in memory of her father Thomas Scanlon, Killiney who died 1848 aged 75. Also her mother Anastatia Scanlon died 1850 aged 74.
- Upright stone full of lichen but with sunburst decoration etc.,. Here lies interred the body of Honor Shee alias Naddy, wife of Mr Peter Shee who dept (departed) this life 16th May 1779 aged 45 years. May her soul rest in peace Amen. Also the body of (undecipherable). Followed by a Latin inscription "Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit nulli flebilior quam inihi (?) filiae(?). This translates as "he died lamented by many good men but by none more lamented than by (his sons)".
- Large upright but very eroded headstone. Erected by John Larrissy of Danganbeg in memory of his beloved wife Elizabeth alias Connelly who depd (departed) this life 13th May 1827 aged 24 years.
- Broken Plinth - no marks or inscriptions
- Railed enclosure but no sign of stone and therefore no name of person or persons buried here. Iron railing very damaged but a maker's name was found on them. Marked: R.Bride, Garnaman. These railing were therefor made in the locality. See also memorials Nos 10 and 11.
- Upright stone near railed enclosure. Stone decorated with an IHS in cross, a sunburst and skulls, crosses on top of skulls and two hour glasses. Here lies interred the body of Edward Hickey. He died 23rd Dec 1765 aged 27 yrs.
- Wooden cross in tree. Pray for Baby and Frank Callaghan. RIP. (see notes below from Burial Register).
- Two slabs inside a stone border (Nos 10 and11). Erected by John Bride of Garnaman in memory of his son Richard Bride who departed this life March 24th 1839 aged 25. May their(sic) souls rest in peace Amen.
- In loving memory of Richard McBride, Garnaman died June 1901, his wife Anne McBride died Dec 1932, his son Patrick died Oct 1948 and his daughter Margaret died March 1953. Mary McBride, Grovine died June 1910, John died March 1923, Kate McBride, Kells died 1st Feby 1937. James died 18th Sept 1946. RIP. Signed by Molloy, Callan.
- In loving memory of James Hurley Ennisnag died 8th March 1985 aged 65 years. And all members of the Hurley family interred here. Rest in Peace. Gray marble plaque in kerbed plot marked Hurley Kells,
- Upright decorated with an IHS. Erected by Michael Delahunty, Goodwins Garden in memory of his beloved mother Mary Delahunty alias Hennessy who died Nov 27th 1872 aged 58 years. Also his grandfather Michael Hennessy who died April 8th 1855 aged 72 years. Aso his grandmother Elizabeth Hennessy alias Coalboot (very difficult to read as badly erased - was once read as Goodborn) died January 25th 1845 aged 62 years.
- Upright leaning forward. Erected by Patrick Hanley, Garnaman in memory of his mother Elinor Hanley who died June 6th 1819 aged (undecipherable).
- Stone decorated with sunburst with an IHS and two ciboria. This stone was erected by Will of Elizabeth Ryan and in memory of herself and her brother Patrick Ryan who both lie interred here. May they rest in peace Amen. There is no date on the stone. Facing east.
- Two uprights now lying flat. First stone decorated with a Gloria scroll and sunburst decoration. Here lies the body of James Doran of Kellsgrange who depd (departed) this life 1st October 1811 in the 67th year of his age. May he rest in peace Amen. Facing east.
- Stone decorated with IHS and two ciboria. Here lies the body of William Doran of Kellsgrange who departed this life April 6th 1805 aged 22 years. May he rest in peace Amen. Facing west.
- In loving memory of Patrick Delahunty, Kells
- Large upright now flat. Decorated with an IHS and Gloria scroll. Erected by James Connolly of Knocktopher in memory of his son Sylvester Connolly who dept (departed) this life June 9th 1823 aged 44 years. Also two of his children. Requiescant in Pace.
- Stone with Gloria scroll, sunburst decoration and two ciboria. Erected by Patrick Hennecy in memory of his father-in-law Edmond Brenan who died April 20th 1790 aged 74 yrs. May his soul rest in peace Amen. Also his wife Bridget Hennecy who died April 26th 1798 aged 54 and three of their children.
- Stone decorated with an IHS, Gloria scroll and two ciboria but broken into 7 pieces. Here lies the body of William Ryan of Hagarh* who died March the 4th 1810 aged 58 yrs. Also his brother Tho Ryan died October 12th 1801 aged 58 yrs. May their souls rest in peace Amen. Facing west. (*this is most probably Haggard, Barony of Kells, Parish of Kilree).
- Upright now flat. Decorated with IHS, glories scroll a heart and two ciboria. This stone was erected by Steven Lewis in memory of his son John Lewis, Newmarket. He died Feb 1st 1783 aged 15.
- Broken stone and only part of memorial surviving. ( ..........)ry who departed Augst 18 1722. Erected by Pierce Merry her son died ye 20.............and also Walter Merry her husband 1738.
- Broken stone now lying in north transept amongst other large uninscribed stones. Does not appear to be a headstone but inscribed in amateurish fashion in right hand corner. Comerford, Kells July 4 1941. Plus TK. In left lower corner GGK and PAC and G. Comerford. No further dates.
- Inside ruined Priory and currently inaccessible due to building repairs and scaffolding (2012 and 2016). A fairly modern stone leaning against a wall; white medallion of Our Lady as decoration. In loving memory of Patrick Delahunty, Kells died 26th Nov 1932 aged 75 yrs. His wife Elizabeth died 7th May 1926 aged 56 yrs. Their grandson Vincent died 35th June 1931 aged 3 yrs. Their daughter Norah died 30 April 1995 aged 77 years. Their son James died Dec 1988 aged 88 yrs. His remains lie in California. His spirit lies here.
|No 25. Headstone to the Delahunty family of Kells|
Goodborn 13 (possibly)
PAC, GGK, TK 24(possible graffiti)
Index to Places mentioned on Memorials
Garnaman 7, 10,11,14
Goodwins Garden 13
Kells 12, 18, 24, 25
Kellsgrange 16, 17
Gargan, Kilkenny 1
Molloy, Callan 11
The Burial Register of Kells
The Kilkenny Board of Health and Public Assistance maintained a Register of Interments for Kells Burial Ground from 1948-1985. There are 18 entries in the Register. The Register records name, age, sex, occupation, marital status, last place of residence, date of death, date of interment and was signed by the Caretaker and Registrar for the Burial Ground. This Register is now kept by the Kilkenny County Archives, John's Street, Kilkenny. There are people in this register who have no memorial at the burial ground.
These names are Molloy (1950, 1952 1964), Doran (1953), Glendon (1953), Lanigan (1954), Reid (1956), Walshe (1959) and Connell (1985).
The Register can be very helpful. For example in respect of memorial No 9 to Frank and Baby Callaghan,the Register records that Francis Callaghan, male, single,shopkeeper of Kells died in November 1956 aged 79 years. Babe (sic)Callaghan, female, single, shopkeeper of Kells died in April 1959 aged 78 years. They were both Catholic. Patrick McBride who is recorded on memorial No 11 is entered in the Burial Register as a Catholic, single and a blacksmith aged 60 when he died in 1948.