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Successful launch of Carved in Stone

Successful launch of Carved in Stone

Almost one hundred people congregated at Edenderry Parish Centre last Friday evening (12 August) for the launch of Edenderry Historical Society’s book, Carved in Stone, a survey of over twenty local graveyards. Welcoming those in attendance Chairperson Cherry Carter stated that the society was very proud of the people involved in producing the book and that ‘we are all indebted to them’ for their efforts. She also noted how the book Carved in Stone would stand as a monument for generations to come.

Cherry Carter and indeed the other speakers on the night paid tribute to the dedicated team, spearheaded by Therese Abbott and Mary Fay, and ably assisted by Oliver Burke and Patience Pollard who set about the recording of headstones and markers. The late Noel Whelan had been instrumental in the original idea. They were assisted by previous research most notably by Seamus Rafferty. They were meticulous in the recording of data, revisiting sites time and time again, often in dreadful weather. Everything had to be right. Others who had helped over the years were not forgotten either. These included Sonny Collins, James Scully, Brigid Mangan, Mary and Eileen Hickey, Tom and Mary Ryan, Emer O’Kennedy and Sean O’Ceallaigh.

Mary Fay spoke on behalf of the research team who had undertaken the readings and thnaked many people who had helped in other ways over the years in the preparation of the book. Speaking at the launch Ciaran Reilly, secretary of Edenderry Historical Society said that the group had undertook the task in 2002 and almost eight years later had completed a gruelling and exhaustive search of over twenty graveyards. It is without doubt one of the most comprehensive survey’s of graveyards which has ever been undertaken in Ireland. In putting into context the work that had been done by those involved in the production of Carved in Stone, Ciaran reminded those present about the trip to Ballyburley and Ballmacwilliam by the Kildare Archaeological Society in 1895. This group led by Lord Walter Fitzgerald of Carton House, Maynooth found it difficult to decipher some of the headstones because of weathering and other damage. Fast forward 110 years and more and the Edenderry Historical Society are in the midst of recording headstones and visiting numerous graveyards including the aforementioned Ballymacwilliam. If the task was difficult for Lord Walter and his group in 1895 it was even more so for Therese and the members of her group over the past ten years or so.

Although the book would not have been possible without the efforts of so many people, Ciaran paid particular tribute to the role of Therese Abbott. ‘Therese has a done a wonderful job overseeing all of this- but then again she has made numerous other contributions to the writing and recording of Edenderry’s history. Her research on the Quakers in particular has significantly added to what we know about the community which was so prominent and important in the development of Edenderry over two centuries’. ‘I am particularly proud, tonight for her, and indeed for everyone connected with Edenderry Historical Society that Carved in Stone is now....... written in print’ said Ciaran.

As highlighted in the book the headstones and memorials indicate occupations, professions, trades and the business world – doctors, nurses, teachers, solicitors, attorneys, priests, rectors, stone masons, land agents, shopkeepers, hotelkeepers etc. But they also represent other walks of life, perhaps what some may even call the ordinary folk. In summing up, Ciaran again heaped praise on the team who had made Carved in Stone possible by saying that ‘ it is much more than just a book. It is a statement. It speaks volumes of how we, in Edenderry and environs, remember those who have gone before us. It shows how we honour our dead’.

Edenderry Historical Society would like to thank all who attended and made it such a wonderful occasion.


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