Crossmacole Graveyard, Meath, Ireland

Crossmacole Graveyard has a somewhat sparse and confusing history, known by numerous names and with several theories as to the origin of this ecclesiastic site. The small church that stands at the centre of the graveyard is also known as Roadmain and is situated in the townland of Cushenstown. From what I have been able to ascertain there are at least eight further variations of this name from Crois Mhic Cumhall to Cossenton, to Cosynestoun. What is known is that during the Suppression of the Monasteries in the 1530s the Abbot of Duleek was in possession of Crossmacole and along with Kilbraynan, Salestown and Portrane; it was one of the four small religious houses in Dunboyne Parish. The ownership of Crossmacole by the Abbot of Duleek is also reflected in the Llanthony Charters, Llanthony is in the stunning county of Monmouthshire in Wales. It does appear that the church was ruinous as far back as 1836 and the burials that stand within the walls of the church would appear to reflect this also.

There are two references to the church in the Dúchas Schools Collection of the 1930s, the first refers to Oliver Cromwell (a name synonymous with both Irish History and particularly this area of Ireland) a Nicholas Connor wrote, “The nearest local graveyard in Crossmacole is in the Townland of Cushenstown. People are still interred there. Inside its walls stand the ruins of an old chapel which was battered down by Cromwell’s cannon and graves are to be seen inside the ruins. It is of oblong shape and here and there are headstones and momentoes of the dead for perhaps centuries. Some of these stones are uninscribed and perhaps under them lie the undecayed bones of some great Saint or holy Monk whose memories are in oblivion or the mould of some great King or chief whose tomb remains uninscibed”.

The second tale is of hidden treasure as written by Niall Collier who was informed of this by John Collier (his father) of Arlonstown, Co. Meath, the entirety of which is transcribed below,
“I heard the following story from my father. He heard it from his father who in turn heard it from his mother. This old woman knew all the parties concerned as it happened beside her home nearly one hundred hears ago. At a place called Barranstown, County Dublin, there lived four brothers called Collins. They had a nice farm. The eldest brother Mattie, was about forty years old at the time this incident took place. Mattie had a dream that a crock of gold was buried in the churchyard of  Crossmacole, about three miles from where he lived. This dream he had again for three or four nights and it was so clear that he could see the exact spot where the gold was buried. The only drawback was that a human life was to be lost recovering the money. He told his brothers after days and nights of this. They decided to have a try. So selecting a dark night they yoked the spoke-wheel car and with picks, spades, shovels and a lanthorn (sic) set off for Crossmacole about eleven o’clock. They arrived there. Mattie pointed out the spot. They set to work with a will and at a depth of about four feet found the crock of gold. They closed the hole quickly and carried out the crock of gold to the cart. After coming out of the churchyard gate the brothers missed Mattie. One of the brothers, Dick, went back and found him dead by the gate. His excited call brought the others to the scene and they were struck with terror. But after a time they became calmer and planned to save the money and their good name. They put Mattie on the cart and took him home. They placed him on the barn floor and pulled a ‘ceis’ of oats down on him. The next morning, the neighbours were called on to aid in looking for Mattie and of course the tumbled ‘ceis’ of oats turned over on him. He was found after some time and they supposed that he was smothered. But the Collins family soon had more stock and became more comfortable. They died very rich and never married. The last to die told my great grandmother how poor Mattie met his death treasure hunting.”

GPS: 53.58572, -6.44093

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