In 2014 Rubicon Heritage were commissioned by Cork County Council to undertake an audit of heritage assets owned by the County Council. The audit was intended to assess a wide variety of these properties by providing an overall background/description of the selected sites and identifying the main heritage characteristics and status/functionality of each. We have compiled a series of blogs based on the information gathered during the audit to highlight a number of the selected sites and the amazing archaeology in County Cork. This week we look at Carrs Hill Famine Graveyard.
Carr’ Hill Cemetery is a burial ground dating to the mid-19th century and is known to be the burial place for many of the countless thousands who died in Cork City during the great famine. The site is recorded as an archaeological monument. The graveyard is situated in an enclosed field in pasture, atop Carr’s Hill on the east side of the Carrigaline-Cork road. The area is sub-rectangular measuring 40m x 150m and enclosed by stone walls. There is no surface evidence for burials at the site. A tall steelwork lattice cross stands at the western end of the graveyard. The land was donated by the Carr family during the famine to alleviate St. Joesph's cemetery and consecrated 'All Saints Cemetery'. It is known locally as "The Paupers Graveyard" and is marked on the 2nd Ed OS Sheet as ‘Lapland Cemetery’.
A plaque in limestone at the site reads: ‘150th anniversary – An Gorta More. In memory of the thousands of Cork people who died during The Great Famine and are buried here. Go ndeana Dia Trocaire Orthu. Unveiled by Jean Kennedy Smith, US Ambassador. Erected by the Cork Remembrance Committee, June 2nd 1997’.
Many of the public institutions and the public utilities essential to the infrastructure of Cork city date from the nineteenth century. However, the enormous scale of the famine in Cork City overwhelmed all the available facilities to deal with the dead. The rural poor fleeing from starvation and evictions poured into Cork City. The cemeteries in the city were unable to cope with the numbers to be buried and a new cemetery was opened at Carr's Hill outside the city. Often, the mass graves contained so many that those interred near the tops of the graves were insufficiently covered.
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