Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

November 20th, 2013

Author Lee Dunne recites Grey’s Elegy in Derralossary

To listen to author Lee Dunne reciting Grey’s ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’ click HERE

May 27th, 2013

May Days

Brilliant sunshine on Saturday May 25th was the culmination of a week of work on Derralossary Churchyard. Thanks are due to Tom Heatley and his crew who had strimmed the whole graveyard earlier in the week in time for filming. Thanks also to Matt Byrne, from Bray, who used his space age lawnmower to leave the place looking like a lawn and to Murrough Brady for the loan of equipment. Evelyn Merrigan can never be thanked enough for tea, scones and sandwiches – ‘on the lawn’. Special thanks to documentary maker Angie Mezzetti, and her sister Francis, who very generously donated their services to record footage and sound with well known writer, and Greystones resident, Lee Dunne. Lee will be the ‘star’ of a short film on You Tube in which he reads Grey’s famous ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’. This will be available in a few months time and linked to this website. Lee’s work for the Derralossary Project is hugely appreciated. What was remarkable about the day was the flow of visitors from abroad which might suggest that Derralossary has some potential as a tourist attraction. Some of the regular crew from the parish of Rathdrum and Derralossary, with Glenealy, were unable to make it on the day although Canon John McCullagh was able to join us for refreshments. Some photos of the day are posted below.

Matt Byrne - volunteer from Bray, Co. Wicklow.

Matt Byrne – volunteer from Bray, Co. Wicklow.

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Canon John McCullagh interviewed by Angie Mezzetti

Canon John McCullagh interviewed by Angie Mezzetti

April 22nd, 2013

Next Work Party – Saturday May 25th

A big thank you to everyone who joined in the work party on Saturday 20th April.  After a long hard spring the sun shone and, for the first time in recent years, we managed to strim the grass on the entire graveyard in the one day.  Thanks also to all those who have volunteered to help out in their own time by spraying and weeding and clearing stones.  The picture on the left below below shows (L-R) John Armstrong of Glenealy, Dick Mahon of Laragh, and Matt Byrne of Bray after a hard days work.  On a the right is a photo from the work party in April 2012 – when it was safe to use the entrance porch.


Tea Break in Tombstone Territory (April 2012)

Tea Break in Tombstone Territory (April 2012)















April 5th, 2013

Danger at Derralossary – keep clear of the belfry

Visitors to Derralossary graveyard are advised not to walk close to the belfry tower as a chunk of masonry has recently fallen.  There are also indications that other parts of the belfry may be deteriorating and are potentially dangerous to anyone walking close by.




August 24th, 2012

Next Work Party Saturday 20th April 2013

Come along between 10am and 4pm and help by cutting grass, raking grass, digging up briar roots, clearing loose stones and clearing weeds.  If you cannot join in help fund some of the necessary restoration work, for example:

  • Cutting down 3 trees which are undermining perimeter walls
  • Repair to the sections of the perimeter walls.
  • Rehanging the entrance gates.
  • Developing an information grid to indicate the location of and text on all the gravestones.
January 5th, 2012

Seeking Synge -Can you help?

A list of the clergy and curates of Derralossary Church from 1630 – 1969 is now available in the ‘History’ section of the website. Some basic information is provided on Dr Samuel Synge, brother of the playwright John Millington Synge, who was rector from 1923-1951. Long-serving and well liked he was a doctor of medicine as well as a clergyman. He lived in the rectory in nearby Annamoe; now the home of film director John Boorman. We are anxious to gather more information on Dr Synge, including photographs, and to make them available via this website. Please call Mervyn Taylor on 086 8227998 if you have any information.

September 9th, 2010

A Welcome Note from UFoD

Welcome to the Derralossary Project Blog.

The United Friends of Derralossary (UFoD) is a group of people who have come together to restore and maintain an ancient site of worship and burial and to bring together as much as is possible of the information and history related to the site. We use the description ‘united’ in our name because we involve people of all denominations and none and because we wish to remember those ‘United Irish’ of 1798 who, at a time of state repression and sectarian violence, saved the church from destruction.

The UFoD Blog will touch on topics and issues that are serious and not so serious. Given the make up of the members, and the nature of the site, we could be described as an ‘overground’ as well as an ‘underground’ movement. Over the coming years we hope through this blog to bring you the memories, the thoughts and the hopes of people who live in or are in any way connected with the ancient parish of Derralossary. For the moment, however, it is worth reflecting on the enormous value of country churchyards and we provide below the lines of the immortal poem by Thomas Grey:


The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
The cock’s shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their sire’s return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share,

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the Poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
Awaits alike th’ inevitable hour:-
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault
If Memory o’er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne’er unroll;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country’s blood.

Th’ applause of list’ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o’er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation’s eyes,

Their lot forbad: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse’s flame.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.

Yet e’en these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th’ unletter’d Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resign’d,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
E’en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
E’en in our ashes live their wonted fires.

For thee, who, mindful of th’ unhonour’d dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, –

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn;

‘There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high.
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

‘Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or cross’d in hopeless love.

‘One morn I miss’d him on the custom’d hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

‘The next with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne,-
Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.’

The Epitaph

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown.
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melacholy marked him for her own.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,
He gained from Heaven (’twas all he wish’d) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode
(There they alike in trembling hope repose),
The bosom of his Father and his God.

By Thomas Gray (1716-71).