Updated: Oct 4, 2018
The graveyard behind the former St James's Church - now the Pearse Lyons Distillery - is among the oldest and most historic in the city. Thought to be in active use since the 12th century, the graveyard has seen grave set over grave over the centuries, to the point where its unclear how many burials may have occurred in here. Estimates run to over 100,000 people interred in the graveyard, with monuments dating from the 1600s right up until he 1950s.
Dublin City Council, together with Howley Hayes Architects, has now embarked on a conservation programme of the many monuments and grave markers in the site. The project is part of a wider effort to facilitate public access to this historic place.
Like Watling Street or Bridgefoot Street, the steeply declining site marks the famous esker ridge along which the ancient Slí Mhór ran. This ancient route later developed into the modern Thomas Street and James Street. The site's topography makes it all the more challenging to conserve and make accessible, but the initial works have opened a stepped path through the site and removed most of the overgrowth of vegetation that in many cases consumed graves and markers.
Now the Council is seeking help from the public. In order to inform the repair of stone and ensure that they match graves as far as practicable, the Council is looking to source old photos of the graveyard. It’s a long shot - funerals are not usually the most photogenic of events, however it may be that some photos of the graveyard in a better condition survive.
Email any photos or information to firstname.lastname@example.org