PHOTOGRAPHED DURING AN INTENSE RAIN STORM IN MAY 2016
There are five war dead buried here. I photographed the grave of 18816 Gunner Matthew Loughren and as he died in March 1919 he did not die in combat. He finished his career in the British Army Labour Corps a unit formed in 1917 for manual and skilled labour on the Western Front and Salonika during the First World War. In previous centuries the British Army had fulfilled this role through the Royal Pioneer Corps (1762–1763), the Corps of Pioneers (1795–1800) and the Army Works Corps (1855-c.1856). Though it disbanded in 1921, it is often seen as the predecessor to the Royal Pioneer Corps of the Second World War.
If one visits Kilkenny in May one can expect on average 13 wet days and when I visited in May 2016 it rained almost constantly for four days which was the full duration of my visit.
Based on previous experience I brought proper rain gear with me to Kilkenny. Over the years I have photographed this old graveyard many times but my May 2016 visit was very different as the rain was intense making it almost impossible to photograph and unfortunately my equipment (Sony A7RII and Zeiss Batis 25mm) was compromised. Unfortunately, I had to wait until the end of 2017 before the Sony A7RIII became available. The Mk III was a much better camera and the MK IV is in a different league. Water got into the Batis 25mm lens so at times depending on weather conditions it can be unusable because of condensation.
When I first visited this old graveyard I noted that the colour of the gravestones was different to what I normally see in Irish graveyards [orange/brown rather than grey/white]. I assume that gravestones were covered in what was an orange algae, lichen or fungi however in 2022 I noticed that, in many cases, the orange material had been bleached pure white … I assume that this is a pollution problem.
Official Description: “A picturesque graveyard forming an appealing feature in the streetscape on the road leading out of Kilkenny to the south-east. Having origins in a fourteenth-century leper hospital the grounds are of special significance as the location of a seventeenth-century Catholic chapel, thereby representing an early ecclesiastical site in the locality: furthermore it is believed that fragments survive spanning the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries, thereby emphasising the archaeological importance of the site. The graveyard remains of additional importance for the associations with a number of Kilkenny’s foremost dignitaries or personalities while a collection of cut-stone markers displaying expert stone masonry identify the considerable artistic design”