Monday, September 17, 2012

Etched in Stone

In Ireland instead of spending our time in pubs drinking and catching the craic*, we haunted the churches looking at tombstones and inscriptions. The morning after we had no hangovers and no regrets.

Some tombstones drive you straight to Wikipedia, like this one.  Bishop Bishop was obviously made for his job. Seems he was quite accomplished during his lifetime and notable that his family/friends chose to "etch in stone" the circumstances of his demise.

The Irish can't tell a story the short way and consequently put a lot of information on their tombstones - after all, it is the last word. This one following must have cost George's Mom a pretty penny. She chose not only to recount the way he died but also to give a permanent dig to the Galwegians who didn't keep the docks adequately lit.

It reads:

Sacred to the memory of George Frederick De Carteret, ensign in her majesty's 30th regiment, son of the late Major De Carteret of the Honorable East India Company's service, and Elizabeth his wife, both natives of Jersey. His lamentable death was occasioned by want of lights on the docks into which he fell and was drowned, during a dark and tempestuous night, on the 21st of March 1843, at the early age of 22. Deploring her irreparable loss and bearing in remembrance his many virtues, his childless mother has caused this monument to be erected. She was "The was only son of his mother
and she was a widow".

Here was a very well-loved person who made an endowment that was supposed to last as long as the tombstone - for ever!! I wonder how long it actually lasted?

Near this place rests in full assurance of a Blessed Resurrection, Jane Eyre, Daughter of Sir  Maynord, Baronet and Relict of Edward Eyre late of Galway Twnq. She was a loving and obedient Wife, A careful and indulgent Mother, Affabel and courteous to her Acquaintance. Her Piety Prudence and well disposed bounty to the poor giving bread to the hungry and clothing the naked made her a worthy example to her sex. She took leave of this world on the 29th day of  December 1762 in the 88th year of her age, Resigned herself chearfully into the hands of her Redeemer with a faith, hope and charity, which never fails to obtain an Inherritance among the Saints in Light. Two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret survived her. The sum of 500! was given by the widow Jane Eyre to the Corporation of Galway for the yearly sum of 24! to be distributed in bread to 56 poor objects on every Sunday for ever.

The etcher who worked on this one couldn't get that "y" onto the end of "body" and had to hike it up one row. I'm not sure "died" was ever spelled like this - "dyed" and personally I don't think a good etcher would have split up Catherin's name like this. I hope they got a discount. 

"Craic" (/ˈkræk/KRAK), or "crack", is a term for news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation, particularly prominent in Ireland.[1][2][3] It is often used with the definite articlethe craic.[1] The word has an unusual history; the English crack was borrowed into Irish as craic in the mid-20th century and the Irish spelling was then reborrowed into English.[1] Under either spelling, the term has great cultural currency and significance in Ireland.


    1. Tombstone reading- one of my favorite hobbies. You found some great ones.