Clonabreany Cemetery, Meath, Ireland

Through becoming better acquainted with various cemetery sites around Ireland I’ve seen that it is true that many are built on or adjacent to earlier pagan burial sites, its hardly a surprising phenomenon, there are similar cases all over Europe. The one thing I really enjoy about these sites is the distinctive layers and varying historical periods in a place of such small proximity, Clonabreany cemetery is a fine example of this. There are strong indications that this was a megalithic burial site as two large stones stand in the North-Western corner of the cemetery, one of which is decorated with around fifty cup marks. The site was Christianised in the early 6th century by Caoimbhaoin Breac; a saint who built a church on, or adjacent to, this site. Just inside the entrance to the graveyard are six early christian cross slabs decorated with inscriptions and crosses, these date from the 9th and 10th century. One of the most ornate tombs that stands near the peak of the small mound is the 16th century burial place of Oliver Plunkett’s parents. The sadly destroyed Kearney mortuary surround is situated where the east chancel of the old Clonabreany church once stood. Across the road from the cemetery is St Kevin’s Well, another site that is believed may have held an earlier pre-Christian tradition.

GPS: 53.7155, -7.0689

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