Wednesday 24 January 2018

Tribute to town's forgotten souls


The Paupers' Graveyard in Coolcotts.
The Paupers' Graveyard in Coolcotts.

THE annual patron will take place at the Paupers' Graveyard, the final resting place of the forgotten people of Wexford, in Coolcotts at 7.30 p.m. on Friday, June 24.

During the ceremony, Helen Corish-Wylde, the chair of the Wexford Memorial Trust, will pay tribute to Deceased Friends of the Trust who died during the past year.

And she will remember in a special way Sarah Higginbotham who died on May 14, 1886 in Wexford Union Workhouse, aged 40 years and her infant son infant son Thomas, who died on October 7, 1886 in the same workhouse, aged just nine months. Mother and infant are buried in The Paupers' Graveyard.

Wreaths will be laid on behalf of the local authority and civic bodies and a prayer will be said by a by one of the authors of the book 'From The Workhouse To The Grave' from FAB Women's Group.

Members of the clery who have been invited include Bishop Denis Brennan, Monsignor Denis Lennon, Clonard Parish, Fr. Aodhán Marken Administrator, Canon Arthur Minion, Church of Ireland, St Iberius Church and Fr Ciprian Budua, Guardian of The Friary.

Father Laurie Kehoe will be mentioned for helping to maintain the graveyard when he was Parish Priest of Clonard Parish. Also founder members of Wexford Memorial Trust, President Ray Nolan, former Chairman Padge Reck and the late Mary O' Connor will be mentioned for their hard work and dedication to graveyard.

The Holy Family Confraternity Band and Ger Lawlor and Singers will provide musical accompaniament for the proceedings.

The names of most of those buried in the graveyard, the poor, the deprived, the destitute, the mentally and physically challenged and those from the Wexford Union Workhouse - the old Wexford Hospital - were with one exception laid to rest without a headstone, as there was no money to pay for one.

Large stones mark the shallow graves, placed there by family members so they could distinguish their loved ones resting place.

The only headstone is that of a young boy, John Brien, who died on 2nd December 1904 aged 12 years. He was born and died in The Workhouse.

Helen said that thanks to her great grandson, 'we now know that Sarah Higginbotham and her infant son Thomas, are buried in this graveyard'.

'Two very sad stories. There must be so many more tragic stories associated with all the forgotten souls buried here,' she said.

This year Wexford Memorial Trust erected two new plaques on the boundary wall. One is a short history of the graveyard written by former Chairman of the Trust Padge Reck, the other is the name of the graveyard in English and Irish.

Wexford People

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