Killegland Old Cemetery

The simple old cemetery at Killegland is the site of the last resting place of Dr. Michael Plunkett who ruled the diocese of Meath as Vicar General from 1691 until 1713.

Dr. Plunkett was a cousin of Oliver Plunkett. the Irish martyr. Born in 1652,he studied for the priesthood under the guidance of Oliver Plunkett and worked as his secretary for 3 years. He was ordained in 1674 and was then sent to Rome lor further studies. In I 704 he was registered in Trim as ‘Michael Plunkett, Popish priest of the parishes of Ratoath and Rathbeggan, aged 52 and living in Ratoath’. These were dangerous times for the clergy and there are many stories of Dr. Plunkett being sheltered by a local Protestant gentleman and being given refuge in the manor house(more recently the nursing home in Ratoath).

Killegland Graveyard 1Dean Cogan, in his History of the Diocese of Meath, (circa 1850), describes the grave very well :

“Reader, in the east end of the old church of Killegland, near the village of Ashhourne, there is a horizontalstone, sheltered by the arms of a large tree…………..here reposes the Rev. Dr.Michael Plunkett'”.

The inscription on the tomb reads:

Jesus,  Maria, Joseph, Salvalor,

Patrona, Advocate, Salvu Protege,

Defende, peccatorem, Famulum,

Clienlem sub hic Lapide Jacentem

MICHAELEM PLUNKETT

Pastorem

He died August  1727

Memento mori.

The tombstone was reset in 1977, on the 250th. anniversary of his death, by the local residents who tidied and landscaped the cemetery.

Narrative and photographs Copyright © Ashbourne Historical Society
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