Killaan Coffin Rest

Coffin Rest

Christy Cunniffe

Coffin Rest at Killaan graveyard near New Inn Co. Galway.
Christy Cunniffe

These rather rare and interesting graveyard features can be seen at a few sites in Co. galway. Coffins were rested on the centre pier while the coffin bearers could access the graveyard with ease. resting the coffin of the deceased also likely had a ritual function. In the past when coffins were transported over long distances on the shoulders of mourners it was necessary to leave down the coffin at intervals. Where this occurred cairns of stones developed as mourners deposited prayer stones at the spot. The coffin rest is generally incorporated into the graveyard wall or a wall near the graveyard. It generally consists of two pedestrian openings with a central pillar on which the coffin was rested. There can be variations in the style. In some instances flat slabs are found on the top of the graveyard wall. The wall is often set slightly lower at that point – these also functioned as coffins rests. Where these features occur they should be recorded and documented.

This page was added on 02/07/2016.

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