Is one of the reasons why a headstone is erected not to prompt passers-by to read, then pause to remember or think of the resident for a moment or two?
There are probably other reasons – recording a life passed; notifying as to occupant of the grave. I would have considered remembrance as an important enough function of any headstone.
Last month, at St Finbarr’s Cemetery, as I walked towards it from behind, I noticed the profile of a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone and moseyed over to read the obverse. This proved more difficult that I anticipated with a newer larger headstone erected less than a foot in front of the limestone engraved with the name of Stoker J McSweeney.
I have walked through many graveyards and have not seen such an arrangement of headstones before, or since.
Was there a sense of shame of a family member serving in the British Army at a time when this was the army of the state to which Ireland belonged, an army in which James Connolly and Tom Barry both served. They both survived long enough to make a change of allegiance – a choice possibly denied John McSweeny.
Was there a family falling out? When I mention such a falling out in my own clan, I am often told of similar non-communication in so many other families. It is not at all uncommon – we Irish can be stubborn.
Or was there some other reason for the positioning of the headstones, innocent or otherwise.
Regardless, it appears that the memory of John McSweeney has spend very many years hidden behind stone. This is reason enough to provoke my attraction and inquisitiveness. A trip to the library for the Cork Examiner archives is planned.
If you pass by this page on your travels through cyberspace, please pause for a moment to remember John McSweeney – would you like the memory of your time on earth to be blocked out?
I corrected the spelling of McSweeney.
On twitter, it has been suggested that the McSweeney headstone has only been recently erected and so post-dates the Lynch headstone.