With headstones dating back to 1720, St. Stephen’s Cemetery is unusual in that it was open to all faiths. Clonmel Tidy Towns with the support of The Heritage Council are recording each headstone and mapping them on our website.
St Stephen is associated with medieval churches and hospitals that fight against plague and leprosy. The cemetery was used to bury plague victims between the 14th and 17th centuries including victims of the Black Death in 1349. The house for the lepers adjoined the chapel and was know as The Spittle or Lazars house. In 1640 there was also a farm of 20 acres of land and meadow. The Famine workhouse in Clonmel was located close to the cemetery. Due to contamination of the water table the cemetery eventually closed in 1886 and has since slowly returned to nature.
Our efforts in mapping the old graves at St Stephen's Cemetery aim to highlight the significance of our local heritage. By preserving the past, we honour the roots of our community and gain a deeper understanding of the lives lived by our predecessors.
Click here to view the finished Digital Map.
Join our dedicated team of volunteers as we explore the fascinating history of this cemetery during Heritage Week 2023. At this event we will showcase our ongoing project to digitally map the graves and you will be able to follow an interactive QR code trail to discover the rich heritage hidden within its grounds.
We are also delighted to have historian Stephen Callaghan on board to share some of his insights. Stephen is an independent historian, with a passion for burial grounds and memorial iconography. His recent books include Kilcomin Graveyard, County Offaly (2023) and Birr Military Cemetery (2020).
Supported by the Heritage Council under the Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2023.