St Bronagh’s Graveyard, Rostrevor
Also known as Kilbroney Graveyard in Rostrevor.
St Bronagh is believed to be a follower of St Patrick.
She established a ministry in Kilbroney near the modern day Rostrevor in the 5th Century Monastery that was located on this site.
Her church was a place of safety and refuge for sailors who had been shipwrecked off the coast of County Down.
‘Cill’ means Church and ‘Broney’ is “that of Bronagh”
Check out our video of St Bronagh’s Graveyard in Kilbroney, Rostrevor.
Bronagh’s Bell was used to warn people of a rising storm on Carlingford Lough.
An 8th Century Celtic Cross with no central wheel head marks the grave of Saint Bronagh by tradition.
The cross is made of Mourne Granite and is inscribed with ancient markings.
The erection of the cross is a symbol of the importance of St Bronagh and her ministry to early Christianity in Ireland.
She is titled Saint Brónach of Glen-Seichis
Glen-Seichis is the old name of Kilbrony or Kilbronach, in County Down.
Her saint day is celebrated on 2 April.
The date of her canonisation is not known as she was canonised prior to the investigations carried out by the Congregation for The Cause of Saints.
The local Church in Rostrevor is home to St Bronagh’s Bell
Saint Bronagh’s Bell, St Mary’s Star of The Sea Church, Rostrevor – Saint Bronach’s Bell.
The bell was hung between the branches of a tree and was rung to call the people to prayer.
The branches of the tree grew and obscured the bell from view.
The sound of the bell is sweet and solemn. It was returned to Rostrevor and restored to holy use in October of 1885!
Check out Bronagh’s Bell in the video below!
Check out A Dictionary of Irish Saints by retired professor UUC Pádraig Ó Riain.
Kilbroney Graveyard is also the final resting place for the once World’s Tallest Man.
Patrick Murphy who was over 8 Foot hailed from Killowen, County Down.
He travelled Europe as part of a travelling show visiting Paris.
He contracted smallpox and died in Marseilles.
His remains were brought home to their final resting place in Rostrevor.
In 1916, there was a tragic shipping accident on Carlingford Lough causing the loss of 94 lives including that of James Curran
The SS Connemara and the Retriever collided with each other on 3 November 1916 due to horrendous weather conditions on Carlingford Lough.
James Boyle, aged 21, was the sole survivor.
James Curran who perished had a startling dream the night before the sailing of a shipping disaster. He went ahead on his journey despite the dream.
He had only that day sewn a new button on his shirt. His body was identified due to the newly sewn button.
He was buried in Kilbroney Graveyard on 7 November 1916.
Check out our video of the Centenary Commemoration held in Warrenpoint in November 2016.
Tom Dunn: The United Irishman
Tom Dunn was a Hedge School Master and United Irishman from Rostrevor.
A Hedge School was a secret school providing education to the ‘non-conforming’ faiths.
In The Penal Times in Ireland, only schools for congregants of the Anglican faith were permitted. Classes were held in a house or barn in secret and taught by teachers like Tom Dunn.
He was captured and executed in 1798. He refused to compromise his comrades and received 260 lashes.
The locals of Rostrevor were forced to watch the brutal punishment as a public example of the fate the rebels would meet if captured. The local Yeomanry force were based in Narrow Water Castle in Warrenpoint.
He died as a result of his injuries.
Tom Dunn lies at rest in the Kilbroney Graveyard.
Rest in Peace
The graveyard is also the precious resting place for many Rostrevor natives and their families both in ancient and more recent times!
Rest in Peace to everyone there!