Newtownstalaban Graveyard

Photo added by Michael Flynn

Newtownstalaban Graveyard

Location
Newtown, County Louth, Ireland
Memorials 109 added (27% photographed)

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The following description is by James Garry and was published in "Journal of the County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society, Vol. 17, No. 2 (1970), pp. 87-90" This article contains a complete listing of the headstone inscriptions that were visible in 1969.

"The best route from Drogheda to Newtownstalaban is up the hill past the Presentation College, Greenhills, and on past the huge factory of Cement, Limited on the right. Soon a railway level crossing is reached, and immediately beyond, the lane to the graveyard is on the right. This is negotiable by car for about half a mile, but the latter part of the journey is best done on foot, as the hedgerows are now encroaching over the pathway. Not many graveyards are so remote from the road.

It is the usual circular shape, raised and surrounded by a wall and some yew trees, and is approached by a short flight of stone steps. From here the view south looks across the River Boyne to Eden view and Mornington. To the east are the woods and mansion of Beaulieu, with Queensboro' and Baltray beyond. Behind to the north is the Newtown Demesne, while to the west is Drogheda and the factories. Here is a neatly-kept burial ground surrounded by a tidy pathway and tended at intervals during the year by the caretaker, Mr. Oliver McKeown, who lives near the level crossing.

A ruined gable marks the remaining piece of Teac Libain, "one of the seven churches of the Boyne," as the late Fr. Tom Gogarty, C.C., called it in an article in L.A.J., II, No. 4. He also suggested it was the burial place of St. Fanchea, the sister of St. Enda. A charter of King John confirmed it to Mellifont Abbey (L.A.J., XIII, 1, p. 37).

The stones, generally speaking, are in good state, the earliest date being 1743. There are some of the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century decorated headstones and the McGourk stone is mentioned by Mrs. H. G. Leask in L.A.J., XII, No. 3, 1951. The graveyard is now in the care of the Louth County Council."


In his introduction to the article Mr Garry comments: "It is difficult to realize that in just fifty years' time the creeping suburbia of Drogheda will have extended well into County Louth. Familiar county roads and by-ways will give way to wide fast motorways with factories and new houses on each side. Well-known fields and laneways will be transformed and small country graveyards will be by-passed and left alone, or cleared by the bull-dozer to make yet another site available. It is hoped that such a fate does not befall the beautifully-situated graveyard of Newtownstalaban."

It is sad to report that as of 2016 the Newtownstalaban graveyard now lies by-passed and almost forgotten. The access to it as described by Mr Garry has been closed off and the Cement factory seems to expand ever closer. With some determination it is still possible to reach the graveyard, though it has become more overgrown each time I have visited and many of the graves are now completely hidden, as is the entrance and the lane described by Mr Garry. When I first visited in 2010 only 9 of the 47 stones transcribed by Mr Garry were sufficiently clear of vegetation for the inscriptions to be at least partially photographed, in 2016 it was even less.

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GPS Coordinates: 53.72526, -6.3092

  • Added: 30 Aug 2016
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2621574