On Wednesday 8th July a large crowd congregated in Kinneigh graveyard to attend the annual graveyard prayers. Fr Myles McSweeney recited the rosary while relatives & friends answered while they stood by the graves of their loved ones. After the prayers everybody moved to a location in the northern side of the graveyard. The chairman of Coppeen Archaeological, Historical & Cultural Society (CAHCS) Colum Cronin then addressed the crowd, explaining that a monument was about to be unveiled to mark a famine burial plot in Kinneigh. Colum stated that between the years 1841 – 1851 Enniskeane parish suffered a fall in population from 10, 442 to 5,679, or 46%, surely a catrostrophie of enormous proportions. “It is important” he continued, “that we do not forget our past & the experiences which have shaped us as a people, & indeed as a nation. In future, as we enter this graveyard, let us try to remember in a special way the forgotten ones, all those whose mortal remains lie here, & it is our hope that this memorial will serve to act as a reminder for us to do just that”
Fr Myles then unveiled & blessed the plaque, which is mounted on a rock of local red sandstone. The inscription on the plaque reads as follows:
“Beneath this hallowed plot lie the mortal remains of many victims of the Great Famine (1845 – 1852) Resting here too are others including children, victims of bygone socio-religious customs. May they all rest in peace.
Thanks to the following for making this event possible:
Denis O’Mahony Enniskeane who related the stories of how the famine burials took place in Kinneigh. He was taught about this in primary school by his teacher the famous historian Jeremiah O’Mahony of Castletown. Jerry Falvey (R.I.P.) was also mentioned & appreciated as a source of information. Batt O’Mahony & Michael O’Donovan for their help in supplying, preparing, transporting & erection of the monument. Kearns Memorials of Bandon for supplying & engraving the plaque. Local historian & committee member Michael Galvin for his valued help & advice. All committee members who helped in any way, especially Nuala Lordan.
As with much of the ongoing work of C.A.H.C.S., Cork County Council Archaeologist Catryn Power must be mentioned, as her continued support & advice are pivotal to our work.