Posted by in Features.

PROJECT TITLE: Old graveyard conservation.

Present situation:
The remains consist of a long rectangular church, probably of medieval date. When the church went out of use the interior was used as a burial ground. Not it too is no longer in use and has become neglected over the years. The last burial there was in the 1960s.

As it presently stands the church is in a dangerous structural condition due mainly to a dense cover of ivy that has penetrated the existing walls, dislodged the masonry and broken up the mortar. The walls are weakening at the base and are in danger of falling. The burial ground is also in a much neglected condition. It is extensively overgrown with a variety of trees, shrubs and brambles.

This old graveyard is situated in the heritage zone of Claregalway village. As can be seen from the attached 25.3 inch O.S. map, both the Franciscan Friary and the De Burgo Castle are situated about 100 metres from it, across the Clare River. Also the well know Nine Arch Bridge is about 50 metres away, across the main road. Because of its location and the overgrown vegetation, the graveyard has a low profile and is known mainly to locals.

The aims are threefold:
– Conserve the church (boundary) walls
– Clear the vegetation
– Erect interpretative signs

The committee will ensure that the guidelines as contained in the booklet ‘The Care and Conservation of Graveyards’ by the Heritage Service will be followed. Also we are fortunate that we will have the services of a conservationist architect who lives in the area and who has helped us in the past with the restoration of the Nine Arches Bridge.

While the immediate benefit will be to conserve the church walls, the longer term benefit will be to raise its visual impact and by complementing the other nearby historic structures will further raise the awareness of heritage in the village.

Claregalway Amenity Group – Achievements to date:
-Provision of 30+ townland names in Claregalway and surrounding areas.

-Restoration of the the three pumps in Claregalway, Montiagh and Cloon.

-Landscaping area adjacent to Claregalway N.S. and the erection of the Famine Stone in the same location.

-Planting of trees in area on main road.

-Restoration of the Nine Arches Bridge in Claregalway.

-Provision of Naionra (Irish playschool) adjacent to Claregalway Community Centre.

-Initiated contact with G.K. Construction for tarmacadam of Community Centre, which was carried out subsequently with Claregalway GAA and the Community Centre.

-Erection of 3 ‘Welcome to Claregalway’ stones on approach roads to Claregalway.

Urban and Village Renewal Scheme:
The Amenity Group has been approved for €70,000 by Galway County Council. In addition we will be assigned, free of charge, the services of an architect who will help in drawing up plans. A meeting with the Architect, Galway County Council and area engineer has already taken place with another one to follow soon in relation to how funding is to be spent.

Heritage Council:
The Amenity Group have been offered a grant of €4,000 from the Heritage Council towards the cost of conservation of the old cemetery. The total cost we looked for was estimated to be €11,900, so a shortfall of €7,000 needs to be raised. This is where YOU the community come into the picture!! We need help to raise the remainder. Anybody out there with ideas? The Amenity Group have undertaken the above projects with committed volunteers and we now take this opportunity to appeal to all members of our community to become involved in building the Claregalway of the future.

Contact any of the following for further information:
Josette Farrell (Chairperson), 798430; Brendan Noonan (Secretary) 798207;
Celia Lennon (Treasurer) 798081; Josie Concannon 798183; Sean Harte 798726; Rose Kavanagh 798266; Vincent Lyons 798374; Seamus O’Connell 798245.