Following on from our visit to Glasnevin Cemetery a few weeks ago, and our tour of Daniel O’Connell’s crypt, I thought it would be a nice idea, while we were in Kerry on holidays, to visit Abbey Island and the burial place of Daniel’s wife, Mary O’Connell.
The Island is on Derrynane Strand which is to the rear of Derrynane House, ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell. We had already been to the house on several occasions, and so we decided to visit just the island this time.
We parked in the carpark at the front of Derrynane House and made our way, via a pathway to the side of the house, down to the strand, from where we could see the island. The island can only be reached while the tide was out, and it was already on its way back in when we arrived, so we didn’t waste any time in setting off across the beach.
It was a really drizzly and misty day, and the sun didn’t really succeed in its efforts to appear from behind the grey clouds.
The view below is from the main gate of the cemetery on Abbey Island, looking back the way we had come. You can see how dull and dreary the day was.
The unusual tiled crypt below can be seen from the beach. It’s suffered a little bit of wear and tear over time.
There’s something so peaceful and poignant about the gravestones looking out over the beautiful sandy beach, where people are swimming and relaxing, and where young children are playing.
The small church (Derrynane Abbey), which dates back to the tenth century, lies in ruins.
Grass and ivy grow among the stones and threaten to engulf what little remains.
At the rear of the church, in a sheltered spot, is the grave of Mary O’Connell.
This is a family tomb. There are various commemorative plaques beside it, one of which belongs to Dr. Una O’Connell who was laid to rest there in January 2012. Her husband, Dr. Daniel O’Connell was the great-great-great-grandson of Daniel and Mary O’Connell.
It’s a little sad that Daniel O’Connell’s remains are so far away from his family’s. He was a devote family man and, according to reports, never recovered fully after losing his wife, Mary.
With regard to the Abbey and the cemetery, it would appear that there are plans to provide a new cemetery in the near future. It would certainly be great to see this important historical site preserved and made a little more accessible to those with restricted mobility.