In the older part of this graveyard stands the square tower of the old Protestant Church, which was built on the site of the old monastic church. This tower was added to the Protestant Church. When the church was demolished the tower was left standing as a landmark for ships to steer by. Two very old gravestones are cemented into the sides of the tower, the Abbot’s headstone and the Delahide stone.
The Abbot’s headstone was erected to Peter Manne, one of the last abbots of the Priory of Holmpatrick, and is possibly one of the earliest stones to bear an inscription in Ireland. The inscription in the Latin reads:
Here lies Peter Manne formerly Prior of this House on whose soul God have mercy. He died in the year of Christ 1520.
Beside the Abbot’s stone stands the Delahide Stone, dated 1578. It bears two coats of arms. The Delahides were the owners of Loughshinney until Cromwell’s time.
Other stones commemorate those who died in local shipwrecks. Two of these commemorate William Murehead, commander, and Thomas McClerey, a cabin boy aged 16, of the brig “Savage” of Portaferry, which was wrecked in the harbour with the loss of most of her crew.
An interesting tombstone claims ownership of the grave for Richard Toole, a blacksmith, who died in 1719. It is remarkable for its carvings of the tools of his trade, a claw hammer, a tongs and anvil.
Nearby is the new Protestant Church, a picturesque building in gothic style. Its graceful spire is particularly attractive in distant views of the town. This church was built in 1867 and it replaced the old church whose tower is still in the graveyard.
The following extract describing the church appears in the “Irish Builder” of the 15th of September 1868:
The new parish church of Holmpatrick near Skerries, Dublin, was consecrated on the 2nd inst. by the Archbishop of Dublin. It is in the gothic style, and although very plain in appearance forms a marked feature in the landscape, from whatever side it may be viewed. The material is limestone from Milverton Quarries.
Some tablets from the old church were moved to the new building. The most interesting of these is in memory of James Hamilton. Part of the inscription reads:
A gentleman who during a long and most active life displayed that zealous energy and ingenious integrity that forms a useful and virtuous man …… He died the 20th of October 1800, in the 73rd year of his age ….. Of the uncommonly numerous offspring of thirty six children he was survived by eight sons and eight daughters.
The church contains some interesting stained glass windows especially those on the balcony.
Published here: November 2002