A north Longford cemetery was arguably the place to be last Sunday afternoon as local parishioners turned up in their dozens to witness a small slice of history taking place.
Tubberpatrick Cemetery was the venue not just for the perennial blessing of graves.
It was also the day which brought the curtain down on many months of diligent, behind the scenes work on restoring the cemetery’s age-old Stations of the Cross.
Despite the somewhat erratic weather conditions at times, worshippers stood silently, many of them visibly moved by the sheer volume of work that had been undertaken by a 17-strong commmittee.
One of those members and local Cllr John Duffy led the tributes.
Edward Foster, another north Longford resident, was complemented for his help in providing timber based supplies. Maurice Lenord was likewise singled out for his scuplting capabilities in restoring the stations. So too were the Conefrey’s, John Dolan, community employment scheme workers and others.
Even the Fine Gael representative’s opposite number, Fianna Fail Cllr Luie McEntire got a mention for “working the oracle” in getting Longford County Council to row in behind the project.“I would like to pay tribute to Luie,” said Cllr Duffy. “I hope he would pay tribute to me also.”
Tongue-in-cheek it may have been, there was no denying the sense of pride and mild contentment that was clearly evident within the rocky surrounds of Longford’s oldest cemetery last Sunday.
Two figures who tried their best to steer clear of the limelight were committee chairperson Peter Cosgrove and its secretary Peggy Kiernan.
Cllr Duffy, with what appeared to be a pre-prepared speech in hand, was clearly having none of it.
“Peter led the team with great vigour,” he said, pointing out Peter’s other gratuitous role in donating a parcel of land to help with the work.
The man at the centre of it looked humbled. Fellow committee member Peggy Kiernan gave off similar vibes as attention came her way.
“Without Peggy, the committee wouldn’t have worked the way it did,” said Cllr Duffy.
“She was what you would call the brains behind the operation.”
The stations themselves are dedicated to the memory of Rev Laurence Cosgrove of St Paul’s, Minnesota who originally donated them to the north Longford parish over 100 years ago in 1911.
His brother, Michael was the man tasked with transporting the heavy sculptures from the former Arva Road Railway station by means of a horse and cart.
As reported previously, the Tubberpatrick restoration has resulted in its nomination for a national community based award.
Fronted by regional newspapers, the Leader hand-picked the project for the ‘Get Involved’ accolade a number of weeks ago.
Judging has already commenced on some proposals which is chaired by renowned architect and environmentalist Duncan Stewart.
The results of that evaluation will be made known on September 12 with a special ceremony in Áras an Uactaráin and a meeting with President Michael D Higgins.
Whether Tubberpatrick Cemetery and its dedicated committee of volunteers are included in that line-up, only time will tell.