MOUNT JEROME CEMETERY

William Carleton's Grave

William Carleton’s Grave

Commemorating the 144th anniversary of the death in January 1869 of the leading Irish author William Carleton last weekend, I laid flowers at his grave at Mount Jerome Cemetery in Dublin. It also gave a group of us an opportunity to visit the graves of several other famous Irish people. The graveyard contains one of the finest collections of Victorian memorials, tombs, vaults and crypts in Ireland.

Carleton’s last resting place is relatively easy to find, as it is on close to the main avenue leading up to the church, on the right hand side. It is marked by a small obelisk, raised ‘to mark the place wherein rest the remains of one whose memory needs neither graven stone nor sculptured marble to preserve it from oblivion’. It includes a sculptured portrait of Carleton by James Cahill, set in stone. It was restored and unveiled on 15th August 1989, thanks to the William Carleton Memorial Committee that included the writer Benedict Kiely, Barbara Hayley (NUI Maynooth) and Vivien Igoe. In her book, “A Literary Guide to Dublin“, Methuen 1994, she recalls how:-

“Kiely said in his oration that Carleton, as a novelist, had taken up the issues of tenants’ rights, emigration and famine and had put down on record the Irish people as he remembered them before the famine, before they were practically wiped out. Irish people have not much changed, he said”.   

Sir William Wilde grave

Sir William Wilde grave

The next significant grave close to the entrance to the church is that of Dr William Wilde, eye and ear surgeon, father of Oscar and husband of Lady Jane Wilde, neé Elgee. She was an important figure in her own right, a poet and writer, who published under the name “Speranza” and played a part in the Irish literary revival. Oscar is buried in Paris. The side of the memorial carries the inscription: “In Memoriam Jane Francesca, Lady Wilde, ‘Speranza’ of The Nation, Writer, Translator, Poet and Nationalist, Author of Works on Irish Folklore, Early Advocate of Equality for Women and Founder of a Leading Literary Salon. Born Dublin 27 December 1821              Died London 3 February 1896.  Wife of Sir William and Mother of William Charles Kingsbury Wilde, Barrister and Journalist 1852-1899 Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde, Poet Wit and Dramatist 1854-1900 Isola Francesca Emily Wilde 1857-1867 “Tread lightly, she is near, Under the snow, Speak gently, she can hear The lilies grow“.

JM Synge grave

JM Synge grave

Another important figure in the Irish literary renaissance was the playright, John Millington Synge. His grave was more difficult to find. Synge was born in Rathfarnham, Co.Dublin on April 16th 1871 and died on March 24th 1909. He is best known for writing “The Playboy of the Western World“.  His brother, Reverend Samuel Synge who was a missionary in China is also buried there along with his wife Mary and his aunt Jane, second daughter of John Hatch Synge of Glanmore, Co.Wicklow.

Jack B. Yeats grave

Jack B. Yeats grave

WB Yeats was another leading figure in the Irish literary revival. His grave is in Drumcliff churchyard, under bare Ben Bulben’s head in Co.Sligo. But his brother, the painter Jack Butler Yeats, lies in Mount Jerome. He died on March 28th 1957, although the faded bronze lettering on the tombstone makes his grave difficult to spot. He was elected a member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1916. In 1999 one of his paintings was sold at Sotheby’s in London (where he was born in 1871) for over £1.2 million pounds. His wife Mary Cottenham Yeats predeceased him by ten years.

Buried in a different section is another member of the RHA, Sarah Purser. One of her paintings of a coastal scene in the West of Ireland was sold by Ross’s auctioneers of Belfast in 2007 f0r £2400. Not far from her grave is buried the writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, but his exact burial spot could not be found, despite the assistance of a map. I think I saw two graves lying side by side near a tree and next to the path, but I could not find any inscription on the stones.

Sarah Purser grave

Sarah Purser grave

While wandering around I noticed a Celtic Cross and looked at the inscription. It turned out that the person buried there, James Hamilton Moore,  came from Aughnacloy, Co.Tyrone where some of my relatives on my mother’s side come from. Further research revealed his name in the British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland in a report on the (sectarian) riots in Belfast in July and September 1857. It seems things have not changed much in over 150 years! Moore is listed in an Appendix as part of evidence presented on behalf of the Orange Society (Order), of which he was a senior member.

James Hamilton Moore grave

James Hamilton Moore grave

Moore was Grand Treasurer of the Trinity College Grand District and was a solicitor with an address at 56 Lower Gardiner Street in Dublin (then a fashionable Georgian street). He is also listed as Deputy Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland which met at Molesworth Street in Dublin in November 1856 and his address is given as Gardina Lodge, Monkstown, Co. Dublin.  So next time you have to attend a funeral or cremation at Mount Jerome, take the opportunity to think of all the others who found their place of eternal rest there. They include the writer AE (George Russell), Benjamin Guinness of the brewing family and Sir William Rowan Hamilton, mathematician and astronomer. Since the 1920s Catholics have been buried at the cemetery. In 1994 the remains of the well-known criminal Martin Cahill “The General” were brought there and his grave is now unmarked owing to vandalism.

COMMEMORATION OF CARLETON

William Carleton Society at Sandford Parish Church

William Carleton Society at Sandford Parish Church

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CARLETON:

The William Carleton Society based in the Clogher Valley and Monaghan came to Dublin to mark the 144th anniversary of the death of the famous 19thC Irish author from County Tyrone. Carleton grew up as a Catholic, but would later convert to Protestantism in the Anglican church. He was the youngest of fourteen children born to a small farmer in  Clogher. Dr Frank Brennan a member of the Executive Committee met us at Castleknock and gave our coach party a guided trip through the city centre, starting with the Phoenix Park with its numerous historical monuments and associations going back hundreds of years. We passed Aras an Uachtaráin, the Polo Grounds, Phoenix Cricket Club, the oldest cricket club in Ireland and Dublin Zoo, also taking in the Wellington monument.  We then travelled along Dublin’s quays, with views of Collins Barracks which I have fond memories of, now part of the National Museum of Ireland. On the other side of the Liffey we saw Heuston station and the HSE Headquarters at what was Dr Steevens’ Hospital, with St Patrick’s Hospital and beside it Guinness’ brewery. We saw the Four Courts and crossed Grattan bridge travelling towards City Hall and what was once the headquarters of the British administration In Ireland, Dublin Castle, now in use for the state’s Presidency of the European Union.

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Reverend Precentor Noel Regan

On then to the two cathedrals, Christ Church where there was a festival on in the grounds and St Patrick’s Cathedral where the Reverend Precentor Noel Regan from St Macartan’s Cathedral in Clogher provided some useful background about the two buildings. We moved on through the former Jewish area and into Ranelagh which developed as a genteel middle class suburb after the Act of Union. At Sandford Church we were addressed by a local teacher, who is a member of the congregation, on the history of Sandford church and its connection with Carleton. Susan Roundtree, an architectural historian, also spoke about the development of 19thC Ranelagh and brught along an old map of the area from 1870, which showed Woodville, a row of houses along the Sandford Road close to the entrance to Milltown Park, where Carleton had spent his final years.

1870 map shows Woodville

1870 map shows Woodville

 The residence at Woodville, (beside the entrance to Milltown Park) is now demolished. In his latter years Carleton was friendly with a Jesuit priest Fr Robert Carbery, who was based at Milltown Park. Brian Earls reminded us that in the last weeks before his death in January 1869, the priest offered through Carleton’s wife Jane to give him the last rites of the Catholic church. In response, in one of his last communications, the author told the Jesuit:

“For half a century & more I have not belonged to the Roman Catholic religion. I am now a Protestant and shall will die such”     (LA15/319 DJ O’Donoghue papers, UCD Archives)

We then went to Mount Jerome cemetery for a short ceremony to commemorate the 144th anniversary of William Carleton’s death, followed by a short tour of the graveyard. We travelled to lunch at O’Briens at Sussex Place, Upper Leeson Street, one of Patrick Kavanagh’s haunts, which as a 1900’s grocery and bar reminded him of Carrickmacross. The journey to lunch took us through two Georgian squares (Fitzwilliam and Merrion) and past Leinster House and Government Buildings. Finally after lunch Frank Brennan brought us into Donnybrook and Ballsbridge, passing the British Embassy, AIB and the Aviva Stadium otherwise known as Lansdowne Road. We passed the Grand Canal Theatre, National Convention Centre, and saw some relics of the Celtic Tiger on our route home. Thanks to all who came and I hope you enjoyed the day.

At grave of William Carleton

At grave of William Carleton

The William Carleton Society is a partner in the Shared History, Shared Future project run by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council through the EU funded South West Peace III Partnership Programme and this activity is being delivered through it.

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CARLETON IN RANELAGH

CARLETONportrait (2)IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CARLETON:

I am in Dublin today with a group from the William Carleton Society based in the Clogher Valley and Monaghan to mark the 144th anniversary of the death of the famous 19thC Irish author from County Tyrone. Carleton grew up as a Catholic, but would later convert to Protestantism in the Anglican church. He was the youngest of fourteen children born to a small farmer in  Clogher.  He came to Dublin in 1819 with 2s 9d in his pocket and after trying various occupations, became a clerk in the Church of Ireland Sunday School Office.

Our coach party departs from Enniskillen at 7:30am and is picking up passengers at Maguiresbridge, Clogher, Aughnacloy and Monaghan (at the entrance to St Macartan’s College. 8:15am) for the trip to Dublin. Dr Frank Brennan a member of the Executive Committee will be our guide on reaching Castleknock.

“Frank Brennan will conduct a tour through Phoenix Park with its numerous historical monuments and associations going back hundreds of years, travel along Dublin’s quays, Four Courts, Guinness’ brewery, Dublin Castle, the two cathedrals, Jewish area and into Ranelagh which developed as a genteel middle class suburb after the Act of Union. At Sandford Church we will be addressed by a local teacher, who is a member of the congregation, on the history of Sandford church and its connection with Carleton. The Ranelagh Arts Society will then provide a talk by Susan Roundtree, an architectural historian, on the development of 19thC Ranelagh and the connection with the Plunkett family, who played a major role in Irish history.

We then go to Mount Jerome cemetery for a short ceremony (2pm) to commemorate the 144th anniversary of William Carleton’s death. A member of the Ranelagh Arts Society will then conduct a short tour of the graveyard. We travel to lunch (4pm) at O’Briens at Sussex Place, Upper Leeson Street, one of Patrick Kavanagh’s haunts, which as a 1900’s grocery and bar reminded him of Carrickmacross. The journey to lunch will take us through Dublin’s two Georgian squares  and past Government Buildings. Finally after lunch (which participants will pay for themselves) Frank Brennan will bring us past the Grand Canal Theatre, National Convention Centre, and some other of the better relics of the Celtic Tiger before our return home.”

SANDFORD CHURCH RANELAGH DUBLIN 12:30pm for 1pm   

Sandford Church, Ranelagh

Sandford Church, Ranelagh

Those joining the event in Ranelagh should assemble at the church at Sandford Road Ranelagh (junction with Marlborough Road) around 12:30pm. The group from the bus is hoping to walk from the site of Carleton’s now demolished former residence at Woodville, Sandford Road (beside the entrance to Milltown Park) to the church, weather permitting. In his latter years Carleton was friendly with a Jesuit priest Fr Robert Carbery, who was based at Milltown Park.  In the last weeks before his death in January 1869, the priest offered through Carleton’s wife Jane to give him the last rites of the Catholic church. In response, in one of his last communications, the author told the Jesuit:

“For half a century & more I have not belonged to the Roman Catholic religion. I am now a Protestant and shall will die such”     (LA15/319 DJ O’Donoghue papers, UCD Archives)

Milltown Park looking towards area where Carleton used to live

Milltown Park looking towards area where Carleton lived

Our thanks to the Reverend Sonia Gyles, Rector of Sandford and St Philip’s Milltown, for making the church available. Admission to the talks is FREE but membership of the William Carleton Society (€5) will be available for those interested. There is no charge for the tour at Mount Jerome cemetery. Participants will pay for their own lunches.

Woodville Ranelagh

House at Sandford, in which Carleton died

It promises to a be stimulating and interesting day.  The coach will return to Enniskillen by 9pm.  The William Carleton Society is a partner in the Shared History, Shared Future project run by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council through the EU funded South West Peace III Partnership Programme and this activity is being delivered through it.

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