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Graveyard Information

Kilkeel Old

County : Down

Denomination :

Graveyard Name : Kilkeel Old

Civil Parish : Kilkeel

Town / Townland : Magheramurphy

OS Reference : J307146

Other Information : O S 56 Grid Ref 307146. This is the old parish graveyard in the townland of the same name It is situated to the west of Newcastle Street and north of Bridge Street at a double bend in the centre of the town The church was dedicated to St Colman and was a celtic foundation situated in an old rath The ditch of the rath can still be traced to the north and west of the church but within the graveyard The church was destroyed in the 1649 wars but was subsequently restored The narrow windows at the east end of the N and S walls are probably of the 15th or 16th century but the other windows which have brick surrounds date from the rebuilding The building was abandoned when the new parish church was opened in 1818 The registers of baptism, marriage and burial date from 1816 The graveyard is entered from a gate on Bridge Street and a sunken passage leads from this to the church The graves surround the church on all sides and the whole is (1970) a complete wilderness of grass, weeds and rubbish However It contains several distinctive monuments:-I A weathered equal-armed granite cross 3 feet high, beside which is a granite socket stone 2 A mort-cage enclosure (Moore family) with iron bars covering the whole, to prevent the coffin being removed after burial 3 Coffin-shaped slabs with flat or convex surfaces, most of which have no inscription and are lying down as grave markers Many of the gravestones are of rough granite and are difficult or impossible to read There are also a number of thick raised horizontal slabs of slate which have well-preserved inscriptions All the inscriptions which could be read have been copied.

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