Kilquane Graveyard, Clare, Ireland

Kilquane Graveyard is an unusual site, situated less than 200 metres east of the River Shannon but somewhat in splendid walled off isolation in the middle of agricultural land. There are the scant remains of a church but the graveyard and its headstones are very well kept. The name Kilquane comes from Cill Chúain, the church of Cuan, a monk who resided here in the 6th century. Kilquane is home to two graves of significant note, the first being the ‘McAdam Grave‘, this belongings to Phillip McAdam known as the ‘Traitor’ as he used his local knowledge of the river Shannon near Kilquane to give the Williamite army safe passage across the Shannon to attack the city from the north as part of the Siege of Limerick in 1691. A chain was placed across the river to enable the soldiers safe passage. The chain was tied to a rock on the north side of the Shannon and became known as Carraig a tSlabhra, ‘the Rock of the Chain’. This is recorded in Ordnance Survey Letters Clare Vol II of 1839 and also recorded by TJ Westropp in his folklore records from the early 20th century. “A ferryman at Kilquane named Macadam helped the Williamite ‘Dutch’ army over the Shannon in 1691. He was richly rewarded, but, when he died, people cut on his tomb ‘Here lies Philip who lived a fisherman and died a deceiver.’ Down to about 1850 pious old people, when visiting Kilquane graveyard, used to pray at the Macadam tomb for the soul of the man ‘who sold the pass.’ An old poem on the stone exists,— ‘If all that were killed, O stone! by the dead man under thee were alive!”

Padraig O Briain, a renowned Blind Piper from Labasheeda in County Clare is also buried in the graveyard. O Briain had been born with sight and was highly educated however his sight diminished and he was blind by the age of 26. He made a living as a travelling musician before settling in Limerick where he would play his uilleann pipes on the corner of Harstonge Street and the Crescent, and was painted playing there by the famous Galway artists Patrick Haverty.

GPS: 52.68914, -8.61217

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