The last couple of weekends saw a number of volunteers get together to trim the heavy overgrown ivy on the abbey ruins of the old 7th Century St. Kerrills Abbey in Cloonkeenkerrill cemetery and in which a community of monks once lived. The power of volunteerism was seen in abundance as everyone arrived with their own scaffolding, hedge trimmers, petrol, rakes, ladders, blowers and plenty of willing hard working hands.
The architectural splendour of the South gable of the only remaining wall of the abbey is now again revealed in its finest glory. As it stands the abbey is protected by the Heritage Acts and so contact was made in advance with Galway County Council’s heritage officer.
Completely covered for this past while, the abbey is now again a prominent complex within the local area. Also prominent again is Burke’s tomb which was almost completely overgrown, the burial place of Burke distillers, formerly of Killuane, Gurteen, who were local distillers of ‘Black Cat’ whiskey. There is a cat clearly visible on the side of the tomb stone. The head of Bishop O’Kelly which was reconstructed in 1983 after the East window fell in a storm is also revealed once more. The splendour of the North window is now clearly visible from both the Cloonkeenkerrill & Menlough roads. There is a great sense of history and atmosphere associated with St. Kerrill’s Abbey which is now accentuated more thanks to the hard working local volunteers and their craftsmanship. This is an important site not alone in our local area but in history and it’s great to see it is thankfully being cared for.
Thanks to the following volunteers who helped out over 2 weekends: Pat Roberts and his children Fergus & Lucy; Odie Cunniffe & son Eanna, Mayor of Gurteen Bernie Cunniffe, Gerry Cunniffe, Pairic Hynes & sons Robert & Ronan and who also provided the scaffolding, Lorcan Lyng, JJ Kelly, Frank Mockler, Pairic O’Connor, Ger Ward, Mike & Martina Donnellan & son Jonah & to Jon Hempsted whose scaffolding was also extremely helpful in reaching the apex of the gable wall.
As is customary this time of year, and since 2010, we see the lighted Christmas star light up the cemetery again this Christmas. Perched on top of the east wall of the abbey ruins, we thank PJ Finnerty for erecting same. We always know that Christmas is not too far away when the lighted star appears each year. Old Ireland is truly alive, thanks to the kind good deeds of all volunteers in our local community.
Some photos attached of work in progress and the finished project.