Barrow Track Cemetery (The Old Graves)

There is a forgotten graveyard on the edge of the town of Carlow. Called Barrow Track Cemetery (The Old Graves) and appears to be tumbling into the River Barrow. And, the graves are very visible from the Barrow track.

Stepped in history, known also as The Old Graves is the burial place of hundreds of Carlovians.

This area is said to have been granted to local Catholics in 1607 for burial purposes. The cemetery lies on the east bank of the River Barrow, Ireland`s second-longest river. It is adjacent to the former Grand Canal Company town path on which horses walked pulling the canal boats, hence the name The Barrow Track.

Moreover, this cemetery is several acres in size. The cemetery was the main burial ground for the town until St. Mary`s Cemetary, Dublin Road, Carlow town was opened in 1893. The cemetery was still used during the early part of the twentieth century by those who had family burial plots.

So, Barrow Track Cemetery displays a variety of headstones. Slabs, metal crosses, memorials, stone markers, and some World War I and World War II War Commission headstones.

The remaining headstones date from the early eighteenth century until the mid-twentieth century. Many of the people that are buried here are from family names who have been long associated with the town. In 1787, Bishop James O`Keeffe, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin was buried here. In addition, in 1782, he was the founder of Carlow College, Ireland’s oldest third-level Catholic Institution.

The character of this burial ground has evolved over many centuries and its character adds to its charm, its historic value, and its contribution to local biodiversity.

Therefore, this burial ground is an archeological Recorded Monument protected under The National Monuments Acts.

So, this burial place is sacred to the memory of generations past. Moreover, many of those executed in 1798 are buried here in honorable graves as recorded by WM. Farrell prayed; “That their memory lives with honor in the Country they die for” erected by Hughes sculptors College St. Carlow.

The Old Greves are maintained by a voluntary group who meet here every Tuesday and Saturday. Also, supported by Carlow County Heritage Society, FAS, 1798 Committee, Carpenter Family, Hughes Sculptors, and Carlow U.D.C.

Source: board next to the entrance to Barrow Track Cemetery.

Then, Cemetery that was neglected for years has been cleaned up and rededicated by Bishop Denis Nulty in a special ceremony in 2013.

Thus, the graveyard was tidied up by volunteers but it is still overgrown and access isn`t good. Due to this, you need to be very careful walking around here. The descriptions of the old graves are impossible to see. Similar to Clonmelsh Graveyard – Burial Place of Walt Disney’s Ancestors.

What`s more, there is only one review on Google about Barrow Track Cemetery, I must quote it: “If vampires exist, they live here”. So I`ve been visiting this graveyard only on a sunny day.

In addition, the entrance to The Old Graves is from the road 13 Shaw Park, Strawhall, Carlow.

Location of Barrow Track Cemetery (The Old Graves):

Below are photos I took in May/June 2021.


Blogger. Volunteer. Enthusiast of photography, nature, architecture, and cultural events. Since 2014 living in County Carlow in Ireland.

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