ONE OF Kildare’s most historic sites – Barrettstown Cemetery – is facing a dual threat, according to a local councillor, from erosion and illegal dumping.
Site of the iconic St Patrick’s Well, the ancient cemetery on the banks of the Liffey just outside Newbridge, is in some danger of being swept awayby the river, according to Cllr Peggy O’Dwyer – if remedial works are not undertaken soon by Kildare Co Council.
“Someone’s going to be taken down the river soon, and it won’t be a live person!” said Cllr O’Dwyer, who has a very personal connection with the cemetery .
Already the river has eroded under the boundary of the cemetery. Having raised the issue at a recent Kildare-Newbridge Municipal District meeting, Cllr O’Dwyer was re-assured of the efforts the council was making and said this week “remedial work has gone for costing” on foot of the council’s engineering report.
There are also plans to extend this small cemetery, which Joe Boland said at the recent MD meeting would be looked at in greater detail in 2020, but Cllr O’Dwyer accepted that because of the historical importance of this site “this will most likely go out to archeological consultants” when this happens.
In recent months the bane of illegal dumping in the council-provided wheelie-bins at the site has become a more pressing problem for the local authority, and Cllr O’Dwyer wanted to highlight this.
“This is sacred ground. Personally, my daughter is buried here,” said the local councillor.
Referring to the people responsible for the dumping she said: “It’s horrible. I don’t know who they are [yet] but they’ll get plenty of publicity now,” she pointed out.
“I went up there this morning (30 October) myself with rubber gloves and went through a few of the bags looking to identify them,” she revealed.
“If you saw what was n those bags you wouldn’t open them,” she said.
Like at other council-controlled cemeteries across the county the local authority provides bins for visiting relatives to dispose of old wreaths or flowers in a respectful way, but this is being exploited by a person or persons unknown.
Cllr O’Dwyer did not reveal if she had discovered any personal details through her sleuthing, however she did say that a senior staffer at the council’s Community Department told her that if she signed an affidavit attesting to what she did with those bags, then what she found could be legally used in an investigation.
Cllr O’Dwyer was, however, quick to praise the under-appreciated efforts of a group of “very nice [nearby] residents who take out the bins on a Tuesday evening for collection on the Wednesday”.
“Barrettstown cemetery has a very dedicated group of local residents who over the years have transformed this beautiful tranquil place to what it is today,” she said.
“If one has the opportunity to visit, I would strongly recommend you do so. It is a blessed place,” she concluded.