Templecorran Churchyard

Just yards away from James Orr‘s grave is the ruined church of Templecorran.

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If you were here in the late seventeenth century, you might have heard the voice of Jonathan Swift drifting out of the building.

If you were here in the early 1600s, you might have heard Edward Brice, the first Presbyterian minister in Ireland. (Although a Presbyterian, he held a position in the established Anglican church – things weren’t quite so cut-and-dried at that point in time.)

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Of course, it wasn’t necessarily all prayer, hymn and sermon. At certain points around the building, you can still see loopholes in the wall, used by the musket men inside.

If you went back even earlier still, perhaps a thousand years ago, you’d find yourself in the middle of a massive Christian settlement. It was only in the 1980s that people realised how big the site originally was – aerial photographs clearly revealed the original boundaries. Early Christian graves have also been found far outside the modern churchyard. (The early Christian site may have been abandoned due to Vikings, but who knows. Some historians just have Vikings on the brain…)

The graveyard’s still in use. While we were there, we met a few people leaving Christmas wreaths on the family grave.

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A thousand years of burials, all in this one little spot. There must just be something about burying your dead up a hill that appeals to the human mind.

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