A Celtic Cross is placed at Bunker Hill to remember the Irish buried there
The Irish buried in a Catholic cemetery on Bunker Hill are remembered.
Nine to ten thousand Irish are buried here, and, safe to say, most were Famine refugees and their children who “did not go gentle into that good night.”
In the bad old days, when infant death was all too common and the Irish poor had no means to buy a grave, deceased infants and young children were left at the cemetery gate for burial. Patrick Denvir, the sexton and undertaker at the Irish Cemetery behind St. Francis de Sales Church in Charlestown, tells us that sad practice was not unusual. There are hundreds of infants and children buried here. Their graves went unmarked but the children were not forgotten.
One glorious September Sunday in 2009, a thousand or more gathered on the Hill to raise the Children of the Famine Memorial. The centerpiece is a Celtic Cross, one reminiscent of Muireadach’s High Cross at Monasterboice.
They lie in silence, thousands strong
In a hidden Charlestown graveyard
Awaiting a marker
Evidence of lives lived?
Why do you lament their tragic passing?
What might have been
Pales to insignificance.
What counts is memory and memorial.
The Celtic Cross in Charlestown Graveyard
Honors soul and spirit
Of those Irish dead
They are remembered.
Rest well now
Where Tir na nOg and Gate of Heaven,
Sun and Cross are all the one.
— Donal O’Cathasaigh (Dan Casey)
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