Walking to Cobh’s Old Church Cemetery is like being a cat in a strange yet familiar place. The atmosphere is quiet but there is a solemn reminder about stepping on this hallowed ground. Coincidentally enough, there is a cat window poster art on a building near the cemetery entrance. The location is a bit further away from the town centre but it is really worth a visit if you have time to spare.
The seal of Titanic Trail makes Old Church Cemetery an important heritage spot in Cobh. This seal can be found around the town and connects Cobh’s rich history to it’s present day cultural significance.
Perhaps one of the popular reasons for seeing this cemetery is to remember the casualties of the RMS Lusitania. The ship was torpedoed and eventually sank by a German Uboat on May 7 1915 near Kinsale. 169 bodies that were recovered were buried on 3 mass graves and 20 private graves on Old Church Cemetery.
Celtic crosses adorn many of the graves here. A cross inside a ring has been adopted since the Middle Ages in Ireland and other countries. If you’ve been on an old cemetery before, then you might agree that there’s something respectable and majestic with a headstone coated with lichen.
There’s some fine details of stonemason craftmanship on these gravestones. To think that there was a time when “ordinary people” graves were only marked with wood or buried on a mound of grass, it is remarkable to see some of these elaborate sculptures.
The hill of this cemetery hosts a biodiversity of plant wildlife. These floras are so rich that these QR codes are created to highlight their diversity and to provide more info to the curious visitors. There’s Holly, Primrose, Spleenwort, Rustyback and many more.
Many headstones are so old and worn out that their markings are bleached by time herself. One may find some beautiful ironmongeries which also survived the elements. The oldest headstone is said to be that of Stephen Towse in the year 1698.
There once was an Irishman named Jack Doyle who rose to fame as a professional boxer, singer, actor and wrestler. His story, however, was far from the fortunate ending that one would expect from his fame. Before his death in London, he was drinking heavily, was seriously ill and homeless. His remains was brought to Cobh, thanks to some businessmen who made sure he was buried in his hometown.
Here’s a notice from the governing council of this premise: “No permanent structure can be erected or constructed without the written Certificate of Permission from the Cork County Council.”
Within this wall is the burial ground for over 11,000 people and without this wall, there won’t be a final resting place for all these people in Cobh. Here is the street side of the wall with gorgeous Navelworths sprouting like guardians of this cemetery.
Here are a few FAQs and tips to make your visit enjoyable and stress free.
- If you are coming from town, the old cemetery is on the left side of the road. Look for a small street at the back of Lidl supermarket.
- No need to remind you to observe silence in cemetery grounds, but be mindful there are residences outside the cemetery walls.
- Sorry, no dogs allowed inside.
*Get updated with some Cobh news here.