|Old Abbeyfeale Cemetery|
Also known as: Abbeyfeale Old Abbey Graveyard, Cistersian Cemetery, Old Abbey Graveyard, Abbeyfeale
County Limerick Ireland
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
The history of this old burial ground is an interesting one. At this spotin the year 1188, on the banks of the River Feale, a Cistercian Monastery was built. In the following years, over 500 abbeys sprang up and Abbeyfeale had the honour to be numbered among them. In the 1500s it was burned down by the English, as were many abbeys at that time. Early in the 1700s, the people of Abbeyfeale built a new Roman Catholic Chapel, containing many of the stones of the old abbey. That chapel served thearea until 1846 when it was torn down. A new St. Mary's Church was built at that time, and the Irish habit of burying their dead in the sacred ground around abbeys and churches prevailed in Abbeyfeale, as well as elsewhere.
The Abbeyfeale Graveyard remained the only burial ground until St. Mary's Cemetery was built across the square in 1904. In 1968 St. Mary's church was demolished and is now the site of the St. Mary's Boy's National School,behind which is St. Mary's Cemetery. The perimeter walls around the graveyard are the original walls, inside of which the abbey and chapel once stood. A portion of a wall of the chapel, about 16 feet long by 4 feet high, remains inside the cemetery today. The cross that appears above the front entrance (at the right) was also part of the RC Chapel that was torn down in 1846.
Contributed and written by Barbara Lewis upon information provided by Batt Harnett 16 Jan 2012.
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