Local traditions in early eighteenth-century commemoration: the headstone memorials from Balrothery, Co. Dublin, and their place in the evolution of Irish and British commemorative practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • H. Mytum


Publication details

JournalProceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C
DatePublished - 15 Mar 2004
Issue number1
Number of pages34
Pages (from-to)1-35
Original languageEnglish


This paper describes and analyses the early eighteenth-century headstones from Balrothery and other nearby graveyards in northern County Dublin with regard to size, shape, decoration and textual content. A distinct local design repertoire is evident. The texts display age and gender biases in commemoration, with older adults and males dominating. The Balrothery headstones are compared with others from Ireland and Britain, and a phase of marking burial with small stones is identified that predates the gravestone boom occurring from the middle of the eighteenth century. These early burial markers are relatively small compared with later eighteenth-century memorials, but a trend towards erecting larger stones over time is discernible. Most commemorate the deceased, some others emphasise location of the body, and a few explicitly indicate plot ownership.

Bibliographical note

A copy of this paper is freely available from the publisher web site.

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