Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Just beyond a 'Cathedral' of trees

In Maynooth, County Kildare, at the site of Maynooth Cathedral and Seminary School, there is a simple unadorned graveyard, in which priests and others who were once members of the seminary community are interred. It is in an area behind the school and the church, so if you do not know where to look for it, you will not find it. The tops of the trees have been grown so that they knit together in such a way that a sort of beautiful 'Cathedral' of trees is created. The entranceway is obscured, although it is marked by an icon of the crucified Christ, and the gate into the cemetery is just behind it.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: By the book...

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All photographs Copyright© J. Geraghty-Gorman 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Leaving three young children to mourn her loss...

Often I am drawn to stones such as this one, not purely for the look of the stone, but for the message on it. Although the angel which stands atop this stone is spectacular, it is the reference to the three young children who were left to mourn the loss of their young mother which leaves the greatest mark.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Child of our heart's best love farewell...

The stone reads:

In Affectionate Remembrance
Mary Margaret
Beloved Daughter Of
Catherine Lynch
16 Annavilla North Circular Road
Died 17th June 1865
Aged 11 Years.

Child of our heart's best love farewell,
On earth adieu to thee,
Thy sweet young happy form and face,
Live but in memory.

Mary Catherine, John & Francis
Who died young.

Erected by their fond mother.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, almost: In the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin

'The Issue of the Marriage of the Bishop of Meath & Mrs. Diana Ellis':

In the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral Dublin, this grave marker is replete with the details of family connections, including information about their ancestors, as well as the births and deaths of their children, and even a reference to  their daughter Anne's first husband. Some might call it a genealogist's dream stone.

To see more gravestones from the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral, visit my other blog:
'On a flesh and bone foundation': An Irish History

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: 'Stella': The muse of Jonathan Swift

Interred in St. Patrick's Cathedral Dublin, lies the mortal remains of Mrs. Hester Johnson who was, as the memorial indicates, better known to the world as 'Stella'.

In the same year that Gulliver's Travels was published, Jonathan Swift paid a visit to London, but was suddenly called home to Ireland due to the illness of his lifelong friend and muse Esther (Hester) Johnson. Her death, on 27 January 1727-8, is said to have been the greatest sorrow of Jonathan Swift's life. At the time of her death Swift wrote of her:

"The truest, most virtuous, and valuable friend that I, or perhaps any other person, was ever blessed with. I knew her from six years old, and had some share in her education, by directing what books she should read, and perpetually instructing her in the principles of honour and virtue, from which she never swerved in any one action or moment of her life. Never was any of her sex born with better gifts of the mind, or who more improved them by reading and conversations. Her advice was always the best, and with the greatest freedom, mixed with the greatest decency. She had a gracefulness somewhat more than human, in every motion, word, and action. Never was so happy a conjunction of civility, freedom, easiness, and sincerity. With all the softness of temper that became a lady, she had the personal courage of a hero."

In accordance with her wishes, Esther Johnson was buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral. Upon his death Jonathan Swift was buried nearby.


A Compendium of Irish Biography, Dublin, 1878.

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Remembering Titanic: Those whose names were known

Although the bodies of the eight individuals interred beneath these stones in Fairview Lawn cemetery were not returned to their families for burial, the fact that they were identified meant they could be interred under stones which bear their names and other details. The numbers on the markers indicate the place they held in the procession of bodies pulled from the sea.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Remembering Titanic victims: Irish aboard Titanic

Joseph Dawson - Titanic Crew: Coal Trimmer

After the release of James Cameron's film Titanic, the grave marker for Irish born J. Dawson was one of the most visited of the Titanic victims. For months it was covered with flowers, love poems, and keepsakes. Many people assumed that the fictional character Jack Dawson, as portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, was based on the man interred in this grave.

The real J. Dawson was in fact far from a romantic figure. 'J' was not 'Jack', but Joseph Dawson. Joseph was born into the tenement life of inner city Dublin in 1888 to parents who were widowed from their first spouses, but not married to each other. The 1901 census shows his family living in two rooms of a tenement in Rutland street. Their mother died when Joseph was eighteen, and so he and his younger sister Maggie moved to England. After a brief stint in the Royal Army Medical Corp, in 1911 Dawson moved into the family home of John Priest, a White Star Line fireman. Dawson was tempted into life on the high seas by dreams of seeing the world. He signed on with the White Star Line, serving first on the Majestic, and then on the Titanic, where he worked as a coal trimmer, responsible for bringing wheel barrows filled with coal to the firemen at the furnaces.

The RMS Titanic fatality report produced at the time, and included below from the Nova Scotia Canada Archives, incorrectly identified Dawson's job as a fireman, and incorrectly estimated his age as 30. Joseph Dawson was 23 years old when he died.

Ernest Waldron King - Titanic Crew: Assistant Purser

Galway born Ernest Waldron King's employment aboard the ships of the White Star Line was the welcome answer to a year long stint of unemployment. His family, including his father, a Church of Ireland curate, were proud of him and encouraged him in his career on the sea. However, an incident early in King's career hinted that a life at sea might not be a charmed one. Although he came away from it unscathed, in 1911 Ernest King was working onboard the ship Olympic when she collided with the cruiser HMS Hawke. Her proximity to Southampton meant the ship did not sink, but was brought back into harbour. King left the Olympic and signed on to work on the Titanic.

Ernest King's body was not found until two weeks after the sinking of the Titanic, and it was found floating almost fifty miles away from where the ship sank. The body, counted as number 321 of those drawn from the sea, was sent to the morgue at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where it was identified as that of Ernest Waldron King. King was interred in Fairview Lawn cemetery, 9 May 1912.

The RMS Titanic fatality report produced at the time, and included below from the Nova Scotia Canada Archives, purports that the body is "probably purser's assistant".

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Molony, Senan. The Irish Aboard Titanic, Dublin, 2012.
RMS Titanic Virtual Archives, Nova Scotia Canada Archives
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