A slice of history was made in Clonmult on Sunday as Retiring Parish Priest Fr. Jack Cogan blessed the extension to St. Lawrence’s Cemetery including the new Columbarium.

After blessing the new extension Retiring Parish Priest Fr. Jack Cogan paid tribute to all those who worked on the project and said it was a wonderful example of community spirit. He complimented the various pieces of restoration work on the stone boundary wall. He also said that volunteerism in society is very important.

Sean Hennessy Chairman of the organising committee said that the graveyard at the western side of the Church was opened in 1960 and now here we are 55 years later opening an extension to it. The similarities between the two projects are that they were both completed by voluntary workers from the locality.

He went on to say a sincere thank you to everybody that has worked here and especially Fr. Jack for allowing us to do it. It was fantastic to witness the goodwill spirit in this community. He also thanked all the undertakers in Midleton for contributions to the project.

When we needed a tracks machine, industrial loader, telescopic loader or anything else we just made a phone call and we got it. A sincere thank you to you all and especially for the use of the “dinky” which was with us from the start to the end.

There is an old saying “an army marches on its stomach” so we worked for the sandwiches, scones and cakes which we received daily. Therefore we worked for jaw wages! Sincere thanks to the teaboy and the catering staff.

I would also like to extend our appreciation to the Undertakers in Midleton for their generous donations.

This project was not an easy job to complete. Each and every individual that worked here brought their own skills to the table, be it putting down screeds, building stone walls, making the casing for the walls, hand floating the concrete, or just overseeing the project in general. We all learned a lot from each other.

Many tributes were paid to Fr. Jack Cogan for his contribution to the parish and all his help and support with this development. Best wishes were extended to him on his retirement.

Also among the large attendance was Fr. Barry O’Flynn. CC.

In January 2014 a group of local people including members of Clonmult Community Co-op and Clonmult /Dungourney Community Council came together at Clonmult Old School with a view to extending the graveyard attached to St. Lawrence’s Church which was now full. Some local people had expressed an interest in extending the present burial ground.

Following discussions with our Parish Priest Fr. Jack Cogan it was agreed that a feasibility study would be carried out which resulted in either extending the Cemetery on existing Church ground or purchasing an additional site.

These options were presented to a public meeting in Clonmult and the decision of those in attendance was overwhelming in favour of extending on the existing Church ground.

Plans were drawn up and planning permission was submitted to Cork County Council for a lawn cemetery extension which was also to include a Columbarium. Permission was granted following some site investigation.

Monday 4th May 2015 saw the start of the physical work with the removal of the laurel hedge and the levelling off the ground in preparation for footpaths and head beams. Tuesday 26th May saw the first of the Ready-mix being poured. At this stage the “CRAIC” was getting better by the day, this was where we all wanted to be especially at tea time where the Ladies displayed their cooking skills. The first of the reseeding started on Saturday 30th May. A week later the new grass began appearing over ground, a sight to behold. Wednesday 3rd June saw the last of the Graveyard paths being poured. Now we were on a roll, footpaths around the Church were in poor repair; Fr Jack gave the nod to replace these. On Saturday 13th June we power hosed the walls of the church in preparation for painting.

Tuesday 30th June we began work on the footpaths; this was completed on Friday 3rd July. Remedial work and capping of the boundary wall began on the 27th August. On Thursday 10th September work began on the Columbarium wall.

Saturday 12th September power washing Church walls in preparation for painting.

We understand that Columbarium at this Graveyard is the first in East Cork. A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns (i.e., urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains). The term comes from the Latin Columba (dove) and originally referred to compartmentalised housing.

The external painting of the Church is due to commence next week weather permitting. The masonry walls will be painted by a contractor and the joinery will be done community volunteers.

The materials for the project to date were financed from parish funds and some donations. All the labour for the works carried out has been provided by over 40 local volunteers which made it a great community effort and one that they can be very proud of. A big thank you to all concerned. A special word of thanks must go to those who provided the catering on each occasion that work was being done.

The development of this extension to the cemetery will ensure that we as a community in Clonmult will have a cemetery available to us for the next 50 years.