Castletown graveyard, the oldest cemetery in the Dundalk area, has been totally transformed.
What was once a wildnerness, is now a beautiful place of tranquility, a venerable memorial to the departed.
And this is all due to Dundalk Tidy towns.
“In 2012 Dundalk Tidy Towns,” said chairman Willie Duffy, “along with TUS, entered an agreement to restore Castlegraveyard which had detiorated over the years.
“What prompted this projected was a simple request to try and find a grave in the cemetery.
“The search had proved impossible because of the desparate state the cemetery was in.
“This ancient graveyard dates back to the 12th century. Some of the headstones and monuments reflect the prosperty of the town in the 19th century.
“The eaarliest surviving inscriptions date back over three hundred years but the church ruins are of the twienth century. The church was dedicated to St John the Baptist on whose feast day the pattern, or patron, is held.
“Many of those buried here are being forgotten but reading the incriptions you can recall the lives they lived, and the sad and joyful events experienced by them.”
Mr Duffy said the graveyard was closed to burials, apart from those to whom the right to internment is reserved.
“Dundalk Tidy Towns and TUS,” he said, are proud of the refurbishment and the families of those who are buried in the graveyard are delighted with what has been achieved and many of them now tend the graves and in some cases have erected new headstones.
“The project would never have happened without the support of Anne and her gteam at TUS.”