The Graveyard at Clooney

Final Resting Place of My Nestor and McNamara Ancestors

The old graveyard at Clooney, a few miles south of where my ancestors lived.  Alongside the ruins of the ancient church seen in this photograph are the burial places of my ancestors.

Michael Kenneally attended the funeral of my grandfather, Patrick McNamara, and informed me that my grandfather and other family members are buried in the corner of the graveyard that would be in the right background of this photograph.  The graves themselves are unmarked, as are any number of graves in the graveyard.  My Aunt Tessie and Uncle Tom Kenneally are also buried in that corner of the churchyard, as is my Aunt Ellen.  Michael was certain that my grandmother and members of her family, the Nestors, would also be buried there.


This is the area of the old churchyard where members of the Nestor and McNamara families are buried.  On the left is the wall of the ruins of the ancient church, on the right is the stone wall marking the boundary of the graveyard.

In rural graveyards like this, many graves would have been marked with small stones that were not anchored in the ground.  A local resident, Michael Dinan, told me that some years ago all stones of that sort in the Clooney Graveyard were gathered up by workmen and carried off in a horribly misbegotten maintenance scheme.


In this view of the Clooney Graveyard, the McNamara and Nestor grave sites would be beyond the ruins of the church, past the large monument visible in the left of the photograph. 

The Clooney church is believed to have been built in the 1400s, and was reduced to ruins by English invaders in subsequent centuries.  The stone church is thought to be built on the site of an earlier church constructed by monks as far back as 500 A.D. 

The tall monument on the left is dedicated to the memory of Denis O’Duffy, an expert horseman from Maghera who joined the United Irishmen and participated in the great rebellion of 1798.  O’Duffy was a veteran of the legendary Battle of Vinegar Hill.


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To learn more about the Clooney Graveyard and the history surrounding it, click here.


Visiting the Graveyard at Clooney:

If you wish to visit the McNamara and Nestor graves at Clooney, the site is easily accessible from the main road leading from Ennis to Tulla (known locally as the Tulla Road).  Heading east from Ennis, proceed past Spancilhill, and enter the townland of Clooney.  Turn right at a crossroad which has been known for more than a century as Hurler’s Cross.  The crossroad is obvious today as a well-known local pub, Norrie Henchy’s, which has signs decorated with hurling bats, is located there.  After turning right at Hurler’s Cross and proceeding southwest, the graveyard will soon appear at the top of a hill on the right side of the road.


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