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Donaghadee Churchyard

Commemorated but not buried at Donaghadee


Others were not able to find a resting place in their native town. Many of the headstones bear witness to the loss of a loved one, made no easier to bear by the distance they were from home when their time came. These people are remembered on gravestones and church tablets in Donaghadee, even though their actual place of burial was far away.


We may read of some who died in other parts of Ireland, some in Scotland and England and many who met their end in far-distant lands. There are inscriptions stating that some beloved family member died in Denmark, Sweden, Toronto, St John, Chicago, New York, Lake Erie, Mobile, Savannah, Burhampoor, Bengal, Sydney, Auckland and Johannesburg, a testament to the diaspora as common to Donaghadee as to any other Irish community.


The thousands of names which we can see inscribed today, or which were still extant when the Memorials of the Dead were compiled, are only a fraction, perhaps an acceptably large one, of all the memorials which were placed at Donaghadee Churchyard. But it must be remembered that even if all these names had survived they would only represent those men, women and children whose loved ones chose to place their names there, and who could afford to pay for the stones and the carving of their inscriptions.


There is a clear implication that most of the names found will have been in families with a degree of comfort in their lives. The poorest squatters and cottiers would mostly have been buried in unmarked graves, soon to be forgotten by all but a few close relatives. In the lowest-lying part of the churchyard, on the west side, beside the town’s seventeenth-century animal pound, are a number of unmarked graves.

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