v 6.30.00
28 Jan 2022
updated 28 Jan 2022

(Transcribed from the information display outside the Bantry Old Graveyard in Church Street.)

Garryvurcha Church & Graveyard

Garraí Mhurchaidh (Murphy's Garden)

An Act of Parliament passed in 1704 transferred the ecclesiastical centre of the Church of Ireland parish from Kilmacomogue to Bantry because of a shift of population. A new Church of Ireland church was built at Garraí Mhurchaidh (Murphy's Garden) and opened in 1721. The earliest recorded burial is that of John Hoskin in 1781. The church was in use up to 1818 and was replaced by the present Church in the square. The graveyard continued to be in use for some years by families who had existing plots with the last burial being in 1985. Other burials took place in the Abbey Graveyard.

The Site

The church was built on land bordering the north side of what has since been known as Church Road. The rectangular graveyard surrounding the now ivy covered [and roofless] church is enclosed by a well-built stone wall. Two impressive stone pillars flank the entrance on Church Road, from which hang wrought iron gates three metres high.

The plan map and records

In 1955, Paddy O'Keeffe, eminent local historian and businessman, commissioned an engineer to map the graveyard and record details of inscriptions. He recorded the details of 148 people from a total of 77 headstones, tombs and vaults in all parts of the graveyard and from within the church ruins. Burials after 1955 are not included in these records. A more recent inspection of the headstones revealed an omission which is clearly marked on the map but not recorded: Rev Charles Smith, Vicar of the Parish of Kilmacomogue, died 3 Mar 1823, aged 65; Miss Elizabeth Smith died 24 Apr 1815, aged 50; Miss Anne Smith, died 20 Aug 1816, age illegible

An updated list of burials is available in Bantry Library and Bantry Museum.

Some of those listed in the burial records were serving on HMS Shannon, a coastguard vessel stationed in Bantry Bay.