Rathmoyle cemetery is unique in that it is the property of the parish and is maintained solely by the local population. The site appears on the 1st edition of the Ordinance Survey (O.S.) series of maps for Co. Roscommon as a mortuary chapel with surrounding graveyard. It is mentioned in the 1837 O.S map. The site was presented as a gift to the area by the local gentry, the Irwins, in 1921 and since has been used as the local cemetery. The surrounding wall was constructed in the 1930’s through local contributions and labour.
The earliest recorded burial on the site is in the year 1801, that of Mrs. Sarah Irwin in the vault to the rear of the mortuary chapel in the stone enclosure. It is believed that she died in childbirth and that her child is buried with her. The chapel itself and the monumental spire date to the year 1865 as a dedication to the memory of Mary Irwin from her husband Richard. She was renowned for her charitable acts one of which was to fund the construction of the Rathmoyle National School to replace the hedge-school there. She also financed the completion of the Caddlebrook School when the building was stopped for the lack of funds. The Irwin families were managers of Rathmoyle National School until 1921.
According to local histry a hospice or house of refuge was constructed on the site between 1702 and 1714 by Fr. Augustine Plunkett to relieve victims of famine, fever and destitution. It is also believed that there is a famine grave on the site. It is said that the remains of this hospice was used to build the stone enclosure. Evidence of this can be seen in the piece of tracery window built into the wall itself. This dates back to before the 14th century.
The chapel and the cemetery were restored to its present state between 1992 and 1996 and are at present being maintained by the local people.
Childrens Burial Ground
From early medieval times until the 20th century it has been common practice in Ireland to set apart a special place for the burial of very young or un-baptised children. One such place is in the south west corner of the cemetery where a monument was erected in memory of the un-baptised children from the area in 2008 by the cemetery committee.
Information sourced from plaque outside cemetery entrance.