PICTURES: 'Dead interesting' history tour huge success in Offaly

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


Clara Heritage Committee hosted their "Dead Interesting" Tour of local churches, cemeteries and cillíns in Clara, Tubber, Ballycumber and The Island last Saturday, August 24.

The event comprised of  a whistle-stop tour of 11 locations and commenced in Clara's St. Brigid's Church Of Ireland's cemetery where Committee member Gloria Telford got the tour underway telling those in attendance about the history of the Church and Parish and of those contained within the graveyard; most notably Vivian Mercier a renown literary critic of Samuel Beckett's and native of Clara  and his wife Éilis Dillon, poet and author. 

From there the tour party made its way to Kilmanaghan graveyard just outside Tubber, when Mick Carton, provided the local knowledge and history of the site, in particular, the plight of the Ballycumber Three who met their fate at the hands of the notorious Sheares Armstrong of Ballycumber in 1798, and of  Murt Daly and Edward Feeney who were buried in Kilmanaghan.

The tour progressed to Liss, Boher and Lemanaghan  Cemeteries and Churches where local speakers Angela Kelly and Seamus Corcoran and Clara Heritage Committee Member Andrew Carroll, continued to amuse, entertain and enthral those gathered with tales of wealthy rubber barons, tragic family losses, magic cows and sacred shrines.

The tour then made its way back to Clara via The Island to Kilcromeeen Cillín on the New Road in Clara, where Committee Member Thomas Minnock gave the most memorable presentation with his rendition of "Lost Angels" a specially commissioned poem by Elizabeth Kelly to mark the consecration of the site and service of remembrance in November 2017.

The tour then made it's final calls to the Quaker Cemetery in Clara where Kris Goodbody outlined briefly the history of the Goodbody family, their legacy and impact on Clara, followed by a presentation by Br. Sean Conway at the Franciscan Monastery in Clara.  

Finally, to complete the journey began the week before, the touring party made their way to Kilbride Abbey, the location of the Ecumenical Service the previous Saturday.  Here Committee member Tara McGrath recounted the history of the site and it's importance to Clara over the years.

Clara Heritage Committee would like to thank all those speakers who contributed to the event and to those who helped support it, in particular, Christy Cowen, Michael White and Aaron Baggot.