St Mary’s graveyard to reopen this week

The historic St Mary’s graveyard in the heart of Kilkenny city is due to reopen to the public on Friday.

The historic St Mary’s graveyard in the heart of Kilkenny city is due to reopen to the public on Friday.

Kilkenny Borough Council will hold a ceremony at 11am on Friday in St Mary’s, including a talk on the history of the site, the unveiling of signage and a guided tour. The ceremony will be officiated by the mayor, and all are welcome.

From Friday, the graveyard will be open to the public daily, and guided tours of the graveyard will be available.

St Mary’s Church was built, probably in the late 12th century, as a chapel for the then newly constructed Kilkenny castle, and by about 1205 a large church was in place. Because the church was so prominent in the life of the city over the centuries, it was the favoured graveyard to be buried in by the wealthy merchant families of the time (the Rothes, the Shees and the Archers).

Kilkenny Borough Council purchased the church and graveyard from the Church of Ireland in 2009. Subject to funding, the council is planning to develop the church into a civic museum.