In 2012, my husband and I spent a month in Ireland. We started in Dublin and traveled the coast all the way around to end up back in Dublin at a month’s end. It was the most amazing time I have had yet!
One thing we did a lot of (my husband is such a trooper!) is go through a lot of the historical areas of every place we visited. In Sligo, Ireland, we spent a few days at an amazing bed and breakfast and loved walking around to see many of the sights around the area. We didn’t rent a car, so every place we visited while we were in Ireland we needed to be able to get to by walking (preferred), or taking a bus/train. It worked out very well.
While in Sligo, we got to see a number of amazing things but the one I’m highlighting today is from the Sligo Abbey.
One thing I LOVED about Ireland was the fact that many older structures, like Sligo Abbey, is smack dab in the center of a town. To me, especially as an American who rarely, if ever, gets to see this, it’s amazing to see modern next to ancient. I loved it!
Anyway, we took a tour of Sligo Abbey and the tour guide specifically pointed out this slab:
*Note, this is my own personal photo and this person is not related to me
Why the scratches?? It is an apparent mystery to the place. It could be that the boy was illegitimate and the mother put down the child’s father’s last name. Plus the age and name of the mother would have also given away such an indiscretion. Or this person could have done something terrible and someone seeking vengeance pretty much wiped him away from history by scratching out all of this information. Either way, someone was mad and has left this a mystery.
I don’t believe cemetery records were kept then or if they were, it could be gone by now due to the usual things that happens to old records: damage due to fire, water, age, etc. Of course, I didn’t ask. But if the tour guides didn’t know, and I’m sure one of them had to be curious, then my guess is that the records no longer exist if they ever did exist.
Sligo Abbey also has some very intriguing stories. Bram Stoker’s mother is thought to be from here. Her stories about the cholera epidemic are said to have possibly influenced Bram Stoker’s famous novel. The cholera epidemic sounded absolutely dreadful. Apparently cholera victims were buried alive and in several places the dead would “rise” once more as they fought their way out of their graves, especially if it was a mass grave without coffins (the poor were hit the worst with the epidemic and couldn’t always afford proper burial services). The Sligo Abbey was also used to bury the dead and in fact has two levels of the dead (If I am remembering correctly), because there just wasn’t enough room for all of the dead. So while walking through the Abbey, we were walking on several graves of people.
But definitely my kind of vacation! :)