Friday, February 3, 2017

Gone the Way of Truth review

The history of people and events are recorded and to be remembered in Graveyards and Cemeteries. 22 July 2016
By Jerry Guild Published on
What a surprise it was when I first saw this book.My Son-in Law gave it to me early in June .He got it at Charlie Byrne's Bookshop at the Cornstore,Middle St.Galway.He knows I am a profilic reader,especially of Irish books,and often visits this store,which is one of my fvavorite bookstores,anywhere.It has a huge assortment of books,both new and used IOn his recent visit to his family home in Galway,he visited this store and met Ronan Gearoid O Domhnaill who was promoting this book at the store,and got a copy for me signed by Ronan. I have always been fascinated by Graveyards and Cemetaries.I first got interested in them in the '50's while in the army.While out on convoys,it was necessary to find a place to stop and have our meals.Churchyards were an ideal place to stop as there was lots of space,particularly on weekdays,and usually a graveyard nearby,particularly in the country.Our stop was for a noon rest of 1 hour,and I took advantage by strolling in the graveyard.
On one of my visits to Galway,I was staying on Renmore not far from the Barracks and the walkway across the marsh to downtown Galway,and passing by an old graveyard.One rainy morning ,I took advantage of a bit of a lull in activities,and decided to walk across the bridge and visit the graveyard.It was the Fort Hill Graveyard,,and what an interesting experience it was exploring it.While I was there,a man walked in and proceeded to walk to the back and visit a grave.Later I struck up a conversation with him.If my memory is correct,he told me his name was Jimmie Duggan..He told me he was visiting his family's plot,and he was also part of a group who were involved with restoration of the graveyard.He spent over an hour with me,and explained the history of the graveyard,the destruction of the priory ,built in 1508, dedicated to St Augustine and later demolished, ,how 300 survivors of shipwrecks of sailors from the Spanish Armada,were murdered and burried there,the story behind the huge Celtic Cross there,that was the largest,single piece one of its type,and had been made for a World's Fair in America,and brought back to Galway after.One of the things that caught my eye was the iron bars and locks on the end of the above ground tombs (see page 76) and he explained that there was no remains in the above ground structure ,but there was stairs that led down to 6 places where remains would be placed.I visited that graveyard again a few years ago and also met another man who was also involved in looking after the graveyard.I can't remember his name,but possibly it was Tony McDonagh mentioned on page 66.
I hope I haven't bored you with personal experiences,but if you have interests in history,this book will convince you that there is a lot to be seen and learnedin graveyards and cemeteries.Although I have talked about only Fort Hill,the book also covers many more graveyards in and around Galway and gives details of the many famous people and events remembered there.If you aer ever in Galawa,make a visit ti Fort Hill,even for a n hour,it is barely a 5 minute walk from Eyre Square,and you'll be impressed.
.The book includes a excellent Bibliography but unfortunately no index,so one might want to make notes as you read through it.
The title of the book "Gone The Way Of Truth",comes from an inscription on page 24.I don't really understand that phrase and would be interested if other readers or even the author could explain its significance.

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