A comparatively few number of headstones are still standing in the graveyard itself, many having succumbed to time and erosion. Some of the oldest stones gave the cause of death and the trade or standing of the person. There are remarkably high number of young children and infants, along with young mothers interred in the graveyard.
In 1941, John Cromer of Cromer’s Builders was the last to be buried in the graveyard alongside generations of his family.
2. St Finian’s Graveyard
This burial ground is to be found around and within the ruins of St Finian’s Church in Esker and dates back to the same period as the site in the village (12 th century). This graveyard is of great importance being in the Royal Manor of Esker and it is part of the Manor of Lucan.
Several catholic and protestant clergy are buried within the walls, the most notable being Rev. James MacCarten who was murdered over 200 years ago on the ‘Hill of Lucan’. His unmarked grave lies just under the gable end. Also buried is Fr. Harty who having returned from the bedside of a bed of a person dying from cholera fell victim to cholera himself in 1866. The tombstones of Protestants curates Kyan (1773) and Percy (1795) are among many others.
It is believed the last burial took place around 1940 with a member of the Passmore family from Balgaddy laid to rest in the grounds.
3. St Mary’s Graveyard
When St Mary’s Church (1835) was completed, a small cemetery was set out on the south side of this building, directly under the 1974-1975 extension and this was the burial ground for parishioners from 1835 until 1889.
When building the church extension, the headstones still standing were removed and placed in the back church car park. In order not lo disturb any of the graves, a raft of concrete and steel was laid over the ground where the extension was built.
Most of these headstones are still legible. The first stone nearest the church is that of George Tandy, a Dodsboro farmer, who's family 'Tandy's Lane’ is called after. The eight stone is for James and Anne Lynch who where Headmaster and Headmistress of Lucan's first National School at the Hollow. Their son James who was a priest in Arklow is also buried in the graveyard. The stone was erected by their elder son who at that time was the Archbishop of Toronto. The tenth stone is that of Robert Colthurst and his brother Edward, both having converted to Catholicism. Robert was one of the two brothers who built the Presentation Convent back in the 1860s.
The eleventh and thirteenth stone belong to the Quiglev family of Ballydowd, who donated the land on which the convent is built.
Research to date has revealed that at least two family members are buried in this cemetery: John Byrne and Henry Mary Byrne.
4. Old Graveyard
The third oldest burial ground in the Lucan area is on the right hand side of the road as at the top of Esker Hill. It dates from 1889 - a memorial crass close to the entrance bears the date.
When entering the ground, the Protestant graveyard is on the left and the Catholic is in front and to the right. In the bottom right hand corner of this cemetery is the Holy Angels Plot, a small triangular area sectioned off from the rest of the ground. This was for babies who died before being baptised. The last burial took place in the mid-1950’s.
One celebrity laid in this cemetery is Maurice Walsh (d. 1964) who penned the ‘The Quite Man’. To find his grave, one has to turn right upon entering the graveyard and then take the first left. He is buried about half way down that stretch with a small granite headstone beside the pathway.
Among those buried in this cemetery are some of my family members.
5. The Present Esker Graveyard
The large graveyard on the left hand at the top of Esker Hill, across from the Old Graveyard dates from the early 1940s, when people from the wider sooth Dublin area were buried in Lucan. Graves of note here are the Presentation Plot where all the Sisters from the time of the convent's foundation are buried; the 'Alone’ plot where Dublin fireman Willie Berrningham who cared for Dublin's old folk is buried. Thousands of people from Lucan and the surrounding areas are buried in this cemetery some of whom are my family members dating back to the 1940’s.
Family members buried in Lucan cemeteries are: