Headstones broken by vandals at cemetery in Limerick

Anne O’Donoghue

Reporter:

Anne O’Donoghue

Mark Trehy  with some of the vandalised headstones which were discovered last week
Headstones at Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery have been affect by a spate of vandalism with several being knocked down and broken into pieces.

Headstones at Mount Saint Lawrence Cemetery have been affect by a spate of vandalism with several being knocked down and broken into pieces.

The headstones targeted were the larger Celtic crosses as they are easiest to push over.

Mark Trehy, Castleconnell, who buried his father in Mount Saint Lawrence four months ago, notice the vandalism while visiting his father’s grave.

Initially he noticed six broken headstones, but damage to further memorials was carried out last week.

“It is terrible to see it now, all these old headstones, and new ones, being totally destroyed by vandals.

“If something like that happens to my own father’s one I would be devastated. Your coming up every day just to see any bit of new damage that is here,” he said.

Mr Trehy added that improved security should be put in place to prevent any further damage.

“I would like better security, a patrol at different times every night just to show that there is someone there and the gate is an issue as well.

“They are going to have to do something, because they are leaving the gate open to allow people to come in, but there should be winter and summer times, no one is going to come here after four o’clock in the winter,” said Mr Trehy.

This comes after restoration work has begun on the 159 year-old mortuary chapel in the cemetery.

Limerick City and County Council has entered into an agreement with Limerick Civic Trust to carry out conservation works to the chapel and to clean and repair old headstones.

Prior to these incidents, Kieran Lehane, director of services, Limerick City and County Council, acknowledged that repair was need on a number of headstones.

Mr Lehane noted that there are a large number of headstones in need of repair in the cemetery. Works currently underway include the cleaning of headstones, removal of vegetation growth and cleaning around the ironwork of individual gravesites.

“Mount St Lawrence Cemetery is the location of the final resting places of many of our citizens and therefore, it is only fitting that every effort be made to maintain the site and its many thousands of graves,” he said.

The conservation works are being carried out on a phased basis and it is expected that the complete conservation of the Mortuary Chapel will be carried out over a number of years.

Mass was celebrated in the chapel weekly up to 1970, but it has been unaccessible for a number of years.

It is estimated that some 70,000 people are buried in Mount Saint Lawrence, which opened in 1849.