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Church of Ireland Notes from 'The Irish Times'

Saturday 7 August 2010

Restoration of St James’ Graveyard

One of the most recurrent subjects for queries to the staff of the RCB Library and Church of Ireland House is graveyards, and in the case of the city of Dublin, the most enquired about graveyard is that of St James’, which lies behind the redundant parish church on James Street. The interest in St James is essentially threefold. First it is a very large graveyard and therefore contains many burials. Secondly it was used by the whole local community and so is not confined only to the burial of Church of Ireland people. Thirdly for many years it has been largely inaccessible which, given human nature, serves only to increase public interest.

The burial registers, which cover the years 1742-1989 were a constant source of interest to researchers in the RCB Library but the entries for the years up to 1900 are now  generally available on the new Department of Tourism, Culture & Sport website – www.irishgenealogy.ie – access to which is free. However, while the registers record the burials in the graveyard they do not record the location of graves and the overgrown state of the graveyard made personal inspection all but impossible.  The graveyard was the subject of an extensive FAS project in 1988 which not only tidied up the area but more importantly mapped, recorded and published the gravestone inscriptions. Unfortunately many of the graves do not have headstones and as there is not a comprehensive graveyard map the location of many graves remains unknown.

A new phase in the development of St James’ graveyard is now at hand as the transfer of the graveyard to Dublin City Council is underway with an expectation that the area will be sensitively converted into a public park. St Kevin’s graveyard in Camden Row and St Catherine’s graveyard, behind the church in Thomas Street, are good examples of how disused spaces can be reclaimed for the local community without unduly violating the sacredness of their space or the historical associations which they carry for the locality.

Today (Saturday) the Anglistenchor Heidelberg Choir will give a lunchtime recital in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. This evening at 7.30pm the renowned American organist, Carlo Curley, will give a recital in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, in support of the cathedral’s music programme. The programme will include works by Bach, Buxtehude, Dvorak and Mozart.

Tomorrow (Sunday) at 3pm there will be a Praise Service and Organ Recital in Killeevan parish church, Co. Monaghan, where the organist will be the Clogher Diocesan Secretary, Glenn Moore. In Clonmacnoise at 4pm there will be a Summer Service in Templeconnor church.

 At 4pm in Holy Trinity Church, Rathmines, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr John Neill, will institute the Revd Rob Jones as Vicar in the united parish of Rathmines and Harold’s Cross. Mr Jones will work alongside the rector, Canon Neil McEndoo, but his focus  will be to reach out to people who are seeking an expression of the Christian faith more in tune with their own culture than traditional church worship. Mr Jones has been curate of CORE in St Thomas’ church, Dublin, since his ordination in 2007.

On Wednesday and Thursday Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, will be sung by the Girls and Men of All Saints Church, Northampton.

The St Barrahane’s Church Festiavl of Music continues on Thursday evening in Castletownsend, Co. Cork, when there will be a recital by three Donegal fiddlers – Aidan O’Donnell, Ciaran O Maonaigh and Damien McGeehan.

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