Tralee’s large Famine graveyard is known locally as God’s Acre. This is a large gravesite just outside the town, where hundreds of the dead from Tralee’s Workhouse would have been buried in unmarked graves during the Famine and in later years.
During a recent enjoyable story-telling Cois Tiné in Siopa na Méar, Listowel, Dick Carmody recited this lovely poem, which he had written:
God’s Acre bids me enter through the well trodden stile of crafted limestone
Man’s handiwork separating the living from the dead, the busy from the rested
Therein repose the remains of the unmentioned, unlisted and oft forgotten
In distant times of want, denial and inhumanity they came here for final rest
Alone they sometimes sought it out, cold refuge against an even colder neglect
Last faltering steps taken to meet their Maker in the soft embrace of Mother Earth
Or in make-shift carts a final journey shared from workhouse or roadside refuge
Drawn over limestone paths by souls rehearsing their own inevitable last journey.
In our own time of plenty and opportunity we still seek out this relic from the past
Stepping inside from a world speeding by, we each find our own personal recess
Arriving to repose the burdens of our living with the memories of those deceased
The Stations, the Grotto, the Altar and the Cross all give us comfort on our way
Departing we are relieved, comforted and renewed by this sanctuary to our dead
God surely chose his Acre wisely, its great value not being of our choice or making.
©Dick Carmody January, 2013