By Sean Ryan - 01 November, 2015
Limerick city’s oldest catholic cemetery was re-opened this week after a major refurbishment.
St Lelia’s graveyard in Kileely had been closed to the public since last June after vandals broke in and stole lawnmowers, strimmers, health and safety equipment, and other items needed to keep the cemetery in top condition.
A local fundraiser, including a sleep-out in July, raised in excess of €5,000 to re-open the cemetery.
This week more than 150 people in the community attended a special Mass, where local parish priest, Canon Donal McNamara re-blessed the cemetery.
Speaking to the Limerick Leader newspaper Canon McNamara said, “It is an absolute credit to all concerned. It makes it so pleasant and easy for you to come and pray for your deceased loved ones. I want to congratulate local woman Linda Ledger for co-ordinating the whole thing.”
He also revealed that a special plaque has also been erected in the graveyard to remember all the babies buried there.
St Munchin’s Community Centre manager, Linda Ledger, who took over the running of the graveyard some years ago said she is only a “facilitator” for the area’s people to come together.
“We are blessed. It shows the community spirit here, and that is what today is about – our community. We are just facilitators. The amount of volunteers we have had has just been amazing. It has been very emotional, especially for people who had children buried here, and there were no markings.”
The graveyard near the Thomond area of Limerick city is also known as the Kileely Old Graveyard.
It is located near the rugby ground and dates back to the 12th century.
The remains of renowned heart surgeon Sylvester O’Halloran, who died in 1807 and who founded the Limerick infirmary, are laid to rest there.
The cemetery is back open between 9.30am and 12.30pm daily.