Interments in the Blessington area
Church of Ireland clergymen, unlike their Catholic brethren, were obliged to keep records of burials. So, tracing people interred at their Blessington graveyard, since the 1680`s is relatively easy. Many of the old families of Blessington can trace their roots there. The well known famine diarist, Elizabeth Smith, lies there, with husband Henry, and son Jack, who died so young. In the book entitled "The Highland Lady in Ireland", edited by Pelly & Tod, she describes a great Ball held in Blessington in 1849, to celebrate the 37th birthday of the 4th Manquis. On the menu, which was prepared in the present Ulster Bank was the following : 4 bullocks, 20 sheep, lambs, hams, and 5 cwt. Of plum pudding. In use for the festvities were also the present Credit Union House , and the now Downshire Hotel. The vast throngs spilled onto the Square and surrounding areas. In the year 1850 took place the wedding of her daughter. Annie, to James King, then of Humphreystown House, at St. Mary`s. Bells ringing,the Quality in their finery, and horses & carriages everywhere , it was a spectacle to remember. And now, after all the strutting and fretting, only peace.
is situated at the bottom of the Red Lane in thedirection of the lake.
The name Scurlock appears in Ireland towards the end of the 12th century,
and is also, of course, associated with the townland of Scurlock`s Leap
in Kilbride. It is likely that this is the site of the old church known
as Capella de Villa Cumyn. Scurlock`s Holy Well, also on site, was much
frequented on St. John`s Eve, mainly by women having ricketty or delicate
children, rags being put on the bush over the well by these women. The
graveyard now presents itself in a forlorn and desolate way. Headstones
are mostly moss covered and at a slant. Images of Pip meeting the convict
in Great Expectations comes to mind. I was able to decipher some of the
inscriptions. The Byrne family of Newtown Great were interred here between
the years 1869 and 1914. Also the name White appears. Another was Richard
Olborn who died in 1813 aged 50. The oldest date I could make out was
1771, but I`m sure there are many older than that. With a view to finding
out more about this ancient place, I contacted Ms. Joan Kavanagh of Co.
Wicklow`s Genealogical Resource Centre. She referred me to Cantwell`s
Memorials of the Dead, in the National Library. Research for another day,
At Crosschapel a number of priests are buried. Rev. Roger Miley was interred there in 1801. A man of astuteness in difficult times, he tried to calm his parishioners in 1798 when the Downshire mansion was burned , along with many other premises in Blessington. A letter he sent at this time to Archbishop Troy in Dublin is still extant. One feels he paved the way for the purchase of the land at Crosschapel, and the building of the Parochial House there, for which the Marquis offered 50 guineas in 1811. An enterprising man, Rev. Miley dabbled a bit in property, and up until his death owned a farm of 80 acres at Tinode. Tradition has it that he died as a result of a horse ridingaccident. A plaque inside the chapel reminds us of his ministry in Blessington. Opposite his plaque is another , dedicated to Rev. Peter Duffy, C.C., who died in 1862. Outside are the graves of Jacobi Carroll, 1916, Francis Maguire, 1928, Rev. Patrick Hanley, and James Hamilton, 1885.
(photos by Jim Corley)