Sligo Cemetery was opened for business in 1847 - the infamous Famine year known as 'Black 47'
The Famine and pestilence which followed, ensured the Cemetery hit the ground running.
The cemetery is ideally located on a gentle slope with breath-taking views, within easy walking distance of
Sligo Town centre . . . Whoa! . . . think, I'm starting to sound like an auctioneer selling plots!
Sligo cemetery is just off Pearse Road and until recent years the main Dublin/Sligo road and as such was the first road to be tarred in the early 1900s. Which gave rise to the Sligo Town version of the term 'Bought the Farm' - the expression 'Gone up the Tar Road' meant only one thing to Sligo Town folk!
Writing about Sligo Cemetery reminds me of the humorous narrative from the late Gerry Ryan's live Radio talk show, some years ago. Donegal native, Bibi Baskin was a very popular RTE TV talk show host, a very attractive and desirable Lady.
Gerry Ryan: (during a discussion on whether people would like to be buried or cremated when they die) -
"Would you like to be buried or cremated?"
Caller: "Oh, buried Gerry."
Gerry Ryan: "And where would you like to be buried?"
Caller: "In Bibi Baskin!"
Dead air followed for a few seconds then on to a new topic!
If Bibi even heard - the man's most fervent and very public declaration of his last wish - I expect, she just ignored it!
The old cemetery has been extended twice since 1847. The first extension is known as the Middle Cemetery and the newest is known as (yes, you've guessed it!) the New Cemetery.
A visit to Sligo Cemetery will confirm the Irish death tradition is very much alive, with beautiful but hugely expensive graves evident everywhere. Traditionally, an Irish death can put the survivors in debt for years afterwards!
Despite, necessary new cemetery rules governing height etc. of tombstones, individual creativity and expression is common and indeed in many cases, very touching.
Highly Recommended: A Virtual Tour of Sligo Cemetery with Brian Scanlon