Opinion: Every farm has landmarks with a story to tell
Thanks to everyone who turned out for our Farmland Walk and to all who helped make it a success.
We have had few raw days this winter and this was surely one of them. On waking, I looked out the window and saw it was raining. 'Great,' I thought, 'that will have taken the edge off the cold.' Eh, no. The Arctic wind lingered. But the rain did let up.
We had decided to offer a cuppa during the walk. A shared cup of tea is a social glue, a comforting ritual.
So I spent the morning racing around, filling flasks, baking, buttering scones, then dropping them off near the Old Killermogh churchyard, where we set up stall.
It's on the boundary of the townlands of Killermogh and Coolderry, near the River Gully, a tributary of the Nore.
The area is now isolated but was once heavily populated. Colmcille founded an abbey here in 558 and there is a Norman moated site nearby. Today, the ruins of a church from around the 12th century sits in a walled graveyard.
An account from the Famine era tells that many of those who died in the poor houses in Donaghmore and Abbeyleix and the fever hospital in Abbeyleix were "buried in Coolderry and Killamuck graveyards".
The last burial there was in the late 1960s and the overgrown graveyard is now under the care of the County Council. Surrounded by intense farmland, its an oasis of calm and a haven for wildlife.