The old church at Kilbarrack is steeped in history and was a Dublin focal point for centuries. It is believed that the church dates from the 13th century however its foundations are thought to be much older, and was the site of a Hermitage occupied by a holy man, named Bearog. The Irish from Kilbarrack is Cill Bharróg, the Church of Bearog or of young Barra.. Kilbarrack is one of the older districts of Dublin and is recorded in maps going back hundreds of years. The church was a known point of call for mariners and at one time ships entering Dublin Bay paid has to pay money to the city authorities towards the church’s upkeep. Due to its connection with the sea it is home to countless seafarers’ graves. In many records the name of the church is recorded as the Chapel of Mone.
The graveyard is the final resting place of novelist and playwright Brendan Behan, who mentioned the graveyard were he now rests in his book Borstal Boy, ‘So many belonging to me lay buried in Kilbarrack, the healthiest graveyard in Ireland, they said, because it is so close to the sea’. The ‘Sham Squire’ Francis Higgins, an 18th century character, adventurer and chancer, whose history is well worth reading up on is another notable burial. One of the more poignant burials is that of the MacNeills, Eoin MacNeill was one of the co-founders of the Gaelic League and the Irish Volunteers, two organisations that did much to advance Irish Independence and Freedom, in 1922 he took the pro-treaty side and served as a government minister. However his son Brian, was an anti-Treaty IRA Officer who was killed in Sligo during the Civil War, though on opposing sides in life both father and son are together in death. Other notable Republican graves are that of Dan Head, a member of the IRA who was killed in the Battle of the Custom House in May 1921, aged 17, also buried is Thomas Wall who was killed at the Four Courts during the Civil War also at the tender age of 17. The grave of the Floods, Francis Xavier, 1st Lieutenant of the Dublin Brigade if the IRA who was executed in Mountjoy Jail on 14gt of March 1921, and his brother John Joseph, commandant of the ITA who died in 1929.
Kilbarrack Church is a beautiful place to visit and should really be more fondly noted as a place of significant Dublin heritage from both the perspective of who is interred within but also due to the fine array of gravestones and markers.
GPS: 53.38742, -6.13313