Aghalurcher Graveyard

Map reference: H365314 (2365, 3314)

A church dedicated to St Ronan was founded on the site of Aghalurcher graveyard in the 9th century. It may have been abandoned after 1484 when a Maguire killed a kinsman on the altar. What remains is part of a rectangular structure with a small barrel-vaulted chamber. This was used as a Balfour and Galbraith mausoleum and may be no earlier than the 17th century. The oldest item on the site is possibly the carved head now inserted in the arch of the entrance to the graveyard.

The graveyard is noteworthy for its collection of 18th century memorials. They are basically round with crosslike projections at the top and sides. The inscriptions on one face are mainly of late 18th century date. On the other side is a large skull-and-crossbones surrounded by the symbols of mortality, i.e. hourglass, coffin and bell.

Similar stones may be seen at Clones, Tydavnet and Edergole in County Monaghan and there are some stones at Galloon on Upper Lough Erne. Stones bearing these symbols are found in many graveyards in Dumfries and Galloway and when taken with the castles indicate a strong Scottish influence in the area. There are many other stones of a similar date with carved angels' heads.

Two carved stones are mounted at the gateway. One of them has a Crucifixion.

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