Pupils get to grips with local heritage

Pauline Scott Pupils from St. Patrick’s NS in Cootehall and Drumboylan NS recently got to grips with the heritage of their locality, as they took part in a tour of Ardcarne Cemetery and the local Church of Ireland. 28 children from fourth, fifth and sixth class in St. Patrick’s NS in Cootehall and 13 pupils from fourth to sixth classes in Drumboylan made the visit on a sunny Thursday morning last. The event was organised by Ardcarne Parish Graveyard Committee, including Chairman Jim Reynolds, Secretary David Gillespie, Treasurer Tony Bambrick and ten other members. The aim of the event was to raise awareness among local pupils of the unique historical treasures of the parish of Ardcarne. The fact that pupils were able to view the cemetery in such excellent condition is testament to the work done by the local committee on the new and old cemeteries over the past sixteen years. On the day Sligo-based Archaeologist Mary Timoney gave the children guided tours of the cemetery. Children took etchings of the headstone inscriptions and the winners were presented with prizes from the local committee. Organisers of the event extended a special thanks to Gerry Higgins, Area Supervisor with Roscommon County Council who is based in the Boyle Engineering Office, for all his help and support. Treasurer Tony Bambrick said, ‘The County Council has been very pro-active and we got a grant of €4,000 under a maintenance fund to restore the King Harman plot which was the original landowner here. The family donated this graveyard to the Church vestry and they gave it over to Roscommon County Council.’ Ardcarne is an ancient Christian site and the cemetery is full of wonderful ancient headstones, including one for the McDermott family which dates back to 1668. David Gillespie explained about the repairs and restoration work undertaken at the Church. The roof has been completely restored with the aid of heritage funding. The Church is 250 years old and the oldest window in the church dates from 1860 and depicts the four evangelists.  Another famous window is the Evie Hone window, which depicts St. Patrick and St. Brigid with the paschal flame, as well as local saints such as St. Berec. Evie Hone was an Irish artist who became world famous, her most famous work being the East window in Eton College which was completed in 1935. The Church also contains three windows by AE Child, a contemporary of Evie Hone. Those windows depict the resurrection and show two figures representing patience and faith. Another window by an English artist also depicts the resurrection of Christ. A number of memorial plaques are also contained in the Church, commemorating families from the district. The windows are also all memorial windows, mostly for the Kirkwood, Peyton and King Harman families. The Evie Hone window is a memorial for the Kirkwood family, which David Thompson depicted in his book ‘Woodbrook’. At the conclusion of the event, members of Ardcarne Cemetery Committee paid tribute to deceased members of the original committee of 1992, including Canon Henry Tonra, Sean J. McQuaid, Mairín Bruen and Michael Gerard O’Hara. Mr. Tony Bambrick also paid tribute to the school children for their exemplary behaviour during the event, saying their behaviour was a credit to their parents and the teachers at the schools and he also paid tribute to David and Dorothy Gillespie who gave of their day so generously, saying that without them opening the church, the event could not have go ahead.