Behind the hotel at Bunratty Folk Park, County Clare, Ireland, stands the decayed Bunratty church, some of its architecture possibly dating back to the late 13th century. There is one larger standing structure remaining, but you can walk through the grounds (which are lumpy and bumpy and irregular) over and around gravestones of all types (standing, fallen and those that are flat-on-the-ground which have a name I can’t think of right now).

Inside one of the smaller remaining four walled structures (which would be buildings if they had roofs and doors) are ruins of old headstones. This one stood out for me, given the last name of Kennedy, this week’s anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death, and the shadow reflected against the stone. I can only guess at how old these stones are, although the headstone itself can’t be ancient, of course; it wouldn’t look like this if it were.

According to a survey carried out on Bunratty Church, the earliest church on the site possibly dates to the late thirteenth century while the present structure dates to the O’Brien period of the late sixteenth century, but some of the ‘newer’ gravestones have to be from the 18th century, if not early 19th.

Kennedy headstone fresco copy


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